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Increasing psychiatrists in deprived areas

Improving recruitment of psychiatrists in North Lincolnshire

Overview of the Project

The mental health service in North Lincolnshire has faced longstanding recruitment difficulties for psychiatrists for many years. This has lead to reliance on agency locum cover with a substantial financial cost. This has also affected the quality of medical input due to lack of continuity of care and variation in standards of care between different doctors. This project aimed at developing a strategy to improve recruitment and retention of psychiatrists. It has considered various local and regional factors through engagement with key stakeholders. The main change mechanism has been an engaging leadership style that fostered collaboration between departments and organisations.

Networking with training and research organisations has been an essential element of this work. This framework helped forming a shared vision in the service that raising the profile of the locality as a training and research centre would attract motivated psychiatrists to work locally. Existing staff became inspired and motivated.

The service has seven consultant posts and seven junior doctor posts. Three junior doctor posts were training posts in 2010. Current picture: Consultant posts, 6 out of 7 are substantive consultants - an improvement from 3 out of 7 in 2010. Increase in number of junior doctor posts from 7 to 7.5 in 2012. Further increase to 9.5 is anticipated in 2013. Number of locum doctors ranged between 1-3. Other outcomes: One post converted to Core Training. One additional Foundation Year 2 post and two Foundation 1 in 2013. Improved teaching programme, on-call accommodation and research interest.

Leadership Challenges
The main leadership challenge was to lead change through people. The basic philosophy was leading through social exchange using a transformational leadership model. A framework of engaging leadership was adopted. This framework consists of four components: personal qualities and core values, engaging individuals, engaging the organisation and moving forward together.

Contact Information
Dr Rudwan Abdul-Al Associate Medical Director Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust rudwan@doctor.com rudwan.abdul-al@rdash.nhs.uk 01724 272649, 07796177182