Issue 39 October 2021 - Journal - Page 80
College ‘Highly Commended’ for
Our Member Support During Pandemic
The College’s efforts to support psychiatrists during the pandemic was
recognised last night as RCPsych won ‘highly commended’ in the Memcom
awards for Best Member Support during COVID by a large organisation.
The commendation came after the College rolled
out the biggest webinar programme of any medical
royal college, transformed the way we deliver exams
so they could be done remotely during 2020, and
worked with NHS England to provide comprehensive guidance for members on our website within
days of the pandemic starting.
Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE), or clinical exam,
delivered by any medical royal college.
RCPsych President Dr Adrian James said: "This is a
real honour and it’s very much deserved, because
our amazing staff team and dedicated volunteers
have done a superb job of supporting our hardworking members during an extremely challenging
Overall, a combined 3,218 candidates sat our digital
OSCE and Paper A and Paper B - one of the highest
number of candidates examined by any medial royal
college digitally in 2020.
Six hundred and ninety-four candidates sat our
OSCE in September and October.
A further 2,516 candidates sat our digital Paper A
and Paper B in October, November and December.
Guidance for members on how to handle COVID19 in NHS services
Working in partnership with the NHS, we published
comprehensive guidance on our website for clinicians on how to deliver mental health services in the
midst of the pandemic.
Paul Rees, who collected the award with HR
Director Marcia Cummings and our former Dean,
Dr Kate Lovett, said: “When the pandemic struck,
the mental health of people across the UK and
globally was put under huge strain.
We published this guidance within days of the first
lockdown, and during the course of 2020, the information was viewed almost 500,000 times – with 21%
of those views coming from overseas.
“At the College we needed to move extremely fast to
migrate all our services online and continue to deliver an excellent member experience, to frontline
doctors, working for the NHS and other mental
We also published podcasts and videos on how to
handle the impact of COVID-19.
“It’s a huge credit to our fantastic staff team and
volunteers that we were able to do this, transforming
areas of our work at an unprecedented pace, to provide members with the information, training and career progression opportunities they need and expect.”
Boosting recruitment into psychiatry
Our Choose Psychiatry campaign, which promotes
recruitment into psychiatry through professionally
produced videos on social media, helped further boost
the popularity of our specialty among foundation
Our submission to Memcom set out the work the
College did to support members during the pandemic.
For the first time on record, thanks to the impact of
Choose Psychiatry, 100% of core training places in
psychiatry were filled across the UK.
We supported our 19,000 members by rolling out
the biggest webinar programme of any medical royal
college, with 76,551 live and on-demand member
views for our 247 free and paid-for online events.
Telling the nation about the impact of COVID-19
We secured the highest level of media coverage ever,
with 13,207 media mentions (up by 34% on 2019)
and an aggregate audience of 1.25bn (more than
seven times higher than in 2019) – with regular
appearances on TV and radio news and across the
This meant that psychiatrists and other mental
health professionals could continue to learn about
the latest developments in mental health care provision, and how to handle the impact of the pandemic
on services, through via online platforms.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock was questioned
about the story on ITV’s Good Morning Britain,
with the interviewer saying: “The President of the
Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Adrian James, says
we're facing the biggest mental health crisis since the
Second World War. What are you doing to protect
the mental health of the nation which is inevitably
going to struggle?”
As it was vital that trainee doctors could still pass their
exams and move into national recruitment, as fully
qualified doctors, we digitised our exams, via one of
the biggest projects ever run by the College - which
saw us deliver the biggest virtual Objective
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