Do we need a “Carers’ Week?” Of course we do.

Dr Shibley Rahman blog

Carers Week starts tomorrow, and concludes just before my birthday. It runs from 11 to 17 June 2018.

If like me, you feel as if you’ve been suffering from campaign overload recently, such as “Dementia Action Week”, the need for a further campaign for carers may not seem immediately attractive.

I am the only son of a wonderful lady, who happens to be living with dementia and frailty. I remain hugely indebted for what she has done to care for me, throughout my life. I never thought of her as my carer, but rather I think of her as my mother.

It has been sexy to ask ‘What does good look like?’

When I think of the best paid carers for mum, I feel it’s pretty obvious. They seem to have a ‘sixth sense’ about her needs, even picking up on non-verbal cues. They anticipate what mum needs.

They treat…

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Rupert: Ten Years Later



“Grief is the price we pay for love.”

(Queen Elizabeth II)

imageA portrait of Rupert, commissioned to mark the tenth anniversary of his death, and painted by the artist Rebecca Foster

It was a Sunday morning; a bright promising summer’s day.

I’d been up a while, contentedly reading in bed. My wife had gone out to church. The children were in their rooms. All was quiet. Nothing unusual in that. Sundays were usually slow to start.

Eventually, I’d had enough of my book and decided it was time to get up. Passing my daughter Rosy’s room, I walked towards my son’s room, noticing that his door was nearly but not quite shut. Normally he kept it open so, respecting his privacy, I knocked. No reply. I went into the room and found Rupert.

Sometime in the small hours, he had hanged himself. He was 14 years…

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Many years on from speaking up

Hole Ousia

‘Speaking up’ cannot be fairly considered without an appreciation of the time and culture in which it was made.

Determined to put patients first I ‘spoke up in 2012:

“In the latter part of 13 years employment with an NHS Board in Scotland I raised concerns about clinical practice which had the potential to harm elderly patients. In doing so I was subjected to undue, disproportionate and harsh treatment by my employers and my reputation suffered. As a result of this I resigned and provided my union a summary of what had happened to me. The union lawyer concluded that there was insufficient likelihood of success for this as a PIDA case. Despite the ongoing potential for harm to patients a number of the senior staff involved have gone on to be promoted. In contrast, I found difficulty in gaining employment within NHS Scotland.”

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‘An academic experience like no other’

Hole Ousia

I am receiving several e-mails each week inviting me to the Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress, 2018. Today I received a personalised invite from College President, Professor Wendy Burn.

In this invitation Professor Burn describes what makes the International Congress “unique and close to [her] heart” and states that “while never being the world’s largest, it is certainly one of its most influential.”

I have been an NHS psychiatrist for 25 years and have never attended the Congress and never will. The Congress generates significant revenue for the Royal College of Psychiatrists (£253K for 2017 Congress). What worries me is that it is impossible to fully determine the scale of potential competing financial interests of those contributing. The Congress, therefore could be equally ‘close to the heart’ of the pharmaceutical industry.

What follows here are the ABPI disclosures made by some of the speakers at the 2017 Royal College…

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Video: Introducing instruments

face the music

Yesterday I had a late cancellation, and since all the instruments were laid out I thought I’d do a quick video introducing them and their sounds!

Here’s the 18 types of instruments introduced in ten minutes:

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My Health and Yours

Mental Health Cop

My healthcare, and that of my family and friends, is absolutely none of your business. None whatsoever, with all due respect! Yours is none of mine and I’m only professionally interested in a very limited and particular way.

I’ve been asked a few times whether I’m interested in this area of policing because I have personal experience of mental health problems, or perhaps via a good friend or relative? That’s none of your business, as I’ve said. This reply should not be used to construe that the answer is ‘Yes’ and that I’m trotting out privacy rights in order to avoid revealing things. To be honest, I’m trotting out my privacy rights (and those of my friends and relatives) just because I can and because it’s up to me whether I reveal things about my or their health. I’m afraid, I’m a bit like that – private, contrarian and rather…

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