Assistant Officer for Mental Health on the RCPCH Health Improvement Committee

Below is a message from Dr Karen Street, MA (Oxon), BMBCh, MRCPCH, MScTLHP, who has recently been appointed the Assistant Officer for Mental Health on the RCPCH Health Improvement Committee and is a member of the PMHA Executive Committee:

I am the new Assistant Officer for Mental Health on the RCPCH Health Improvement Committee. I trained in Oxford, Sheffield and Bristol, and for the last 13 years have been a Consultant general paediatrician at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. Throughout my very broad training (with a few detours to have my three children) I have always been interested in the overlap areas between community child health and acute paediatric hospital care, which over my Consultant career has developed more specifically into the overlap between physical and mental health. I believe in entirely joined up working with child and adolescent mental health professionals and over the last 10 years in Exeter, East and Mid Devon we have together established an eating disorder service which is cited as a good practise example in the commissioning guide ‘Access and waiting time standard for children and young people with an eating disorder’, a commissioner funded P3 (persistent, problematic, unexplained, physical symptoms) pilot, which has been presented at RCPCH and YPHSIG conferences, and we are now the first district general hospital in the southwest to have a paediatric liaison psychiatrist.

In the second half of my Consultant career I have changed my working pattern and applied for the college role in which I am excited to both learn and to bring my local experience to a national level. My aims are to promote the message that ‘mental health is our business’ in all areas of college work and to all college members, and to ensure that  mental health considerations are embedded into all aims, policies, guidance etc produced by the College.  An essential part of this is incorporating mental health into the training of future paediatricians  at medical school, foundation years and through our Progress curriculum and I hope that some of this can be achieved by developing  joint training initiatives with our CAMHS colleagues within the RCPsych.  In my role I will also be continually advocating for integrated physical/mental health services for children and young people in my interactions at strategic level and by producing an RCPCH position statement, and including it in the role of the new RCPCH ambassadors who will be working at STP/ICS level. 

I look forward to being a part of the Paediatric Mental Health Association Executive Committee.

Karen is coming to our next Highgate meeting in January 2020 and looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible

Take a look at the programme, if you haven’t already seen it. It promises to be a fantastic meeting! Please spread the word.

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