Archive | Mental Health

The flame still flickers

I have had a good idea. Let’s acknowledge that the functionalised system of care in mental health was never a clearly articulated policy, that it was never based on proper evidence, that most patients and professionals dislike it and that it does not work. Let’s abandon it. All we have to do is to agree […]

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Histrionics and quantum politics

Last week started with a somewhat anti-climactic announcement from the Prime Minister about mental health services. Her speech ended with a statement that “parity means parity”. If this was intended as a triumphant conclusion to a stirring performance, it fell rather flat. The phrase echoed her hollow “Brexit means Brexit” catechism. The Prime Minister seems […]

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What’s going on?

One of the most memorable features of 2016 was a continuous cacophony of intolerance and raw aggression. Our most pressing task for 2017 is to find a distinctive voice of militant tolerance and decency. It is a bit of a challenge, but it must be done. Stridency appears to have infected public debate of all […]

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The virtual asylum revisited

Early in my career as a consultant, I took responsibility for the psychiatric care of a group of men who had been resettled in a community facility after decades as residents in a distant mental hospital. One man sticks in my mind. Ernie had diagnoses of learning disability and chronic schizophrenia. He was mute. He […]

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The life so short, the craft so long to learn

On Monday, 24th October 2016, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges published a list of forty treatments and investigations that confer no benefit to patients and therefore might be appropriately discontinued. The initiative is part of the Choose Wisely campaign, which started in North America. Although the campaign is driven by the principle “first, do […]

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A change is going to come

British society is in a peculiar place in its attitudes to diversity. This apparent confusion does not just involve multiculturalism and migrants. It is evident with respect to all types of difference. There are certainly signs of real progress. The Last Leg, long one of the funniest programmes on TV, is now also one of […]

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