East Asian Arch Psychiatry 2017;27:166

Book Review

Management for Psychiatrists, Fourth Edition

Editors: Dinesh Bhugra, Stuart Bell, Alistair Burns
RCPsych Publications
£90.00; pp544; ISBN: 978-1909726659


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This is the fourth edition of a highly popular book with an updated text about management for both senior and junior psychiatrists. As it is written primarily for psychiatrists working in the UK, a considerable number of chapters in Part I have been devoted to describing the current governance and funding structures of the National Health Service (NHS) of the UK, as well as the development of mental health legislation in different parts of the UK. Although the information provided in these chapters may not be readily applicable to the daily practice of readers working in Asia, the political, governance, and developmental issues of the NHS can provide readers with some food for thought about their own healthcare systems.

Part 2 and Part 3 of the book are extremely useful to any psychiatrist who is undergoing, has recently completed, or is providing psychiatric training. For psychiatrists in training, chapters on the skills of working in a multi-cultural team, clinical audits, and managing patient complaints are particularly useful. For those who have just completed their training and are about to become clinical team leaders, the chapters on running effective meetings, surviving as a junior consultant, and working with the media provide these budding psychiatrists with ready and useful references while assuming their new and hectic but exciting role as a senior doctor. For senior psychiatrists and medical managers, the chapters on medical leadership, understanding systems, change management, and quality governance provide some escapism from their busy clinical and management commitments.

As a clinician and a medical manager, I am particularly impressed by the chapters on compassionate care and consultant mentoring. With increasing emphasis on the application of business models to managing healthcare, there is a real risk that patients are no longer regarded as sufferers of mental illness but as target deliverables to be achieved. The chapter on compassionate care reminds the reader of the importance of compassionate care not only to our patients during direct clinical encounters but also during our design, implementation, and evaluation of service structures for our staff and patients. Another possible risk associated with the rigid application of business models to healthcare systems is that the relationship between trainees and trainers moves from an apprenticeship model to an employer-employee model. Instead of spending precious supervision time influencing and cultivating trainees to developing professional attitudes and compassion towards our patients and colleagues, trainers may fall into the trap of discussing and clarifying various rights and entitlements of the employees in the ‘business’ organisations. The final chapter on consultant mentoring and mentoring consultants rightly reminds all senior psychiatrists of the importance of working together with their junior doctors to bring on a new generation of psychiatrists with professionalism and competence.

Roger Ng, MBChB (CUHK), FHKCPsych, FHKAM (Psychiatry)
(email: ngmk@ha.org.hk)
Chief of Service Department of Psychiatry Kowloon Hospital
Hong Kong SAR, China 

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