IoP Professor leads The Schizophrenia Commission Professor Sir Robin Murray
from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London is leading The Schizophrenia Commission with Rethink Mental Illness
. The Commission, a group of 12 independent experts, was established to review current understanding of schizophrenia and recommend priority actions to improve outcomes for patients.
Schizophrenia affects around 1% of the population. The condition is a major cause of disability, yet it is poorly understood and is surrounded by stigma. Depending on the individual and the interventions available, prognosis for those developing schizophrenia can vary considerably.
From October 2011 to April 2012, the Commission will be gathering evidence from individuals living with schizophrenia, families, practitioners, managers or leaders in the NHS and social services, academics and others including policy makers and journalists.
Prof Murray explains: ‘We have a lot of work to do to ensure all our current knowledge leads to an optimal outcome for every individual experiencing psychosis across the country. We also have more to learn – about causes, treatments and societal responses to mental illness. The Schizophrenia Commission will aim to address all these issues.’
Prof Murray spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme on Tuesday 1st November
about the project: ‘The biggest problem for people with schizophrenia is getting continuity of care, and getting the help when they need it. One of the big problems is that people have no choice in who will treat them. If you have heart disease, or a stomach problem, your GP and you can sort out what hospital you want to go to. But if you have schizophrenia, you get sent to your local psychiatrist, which is fine if he or she is a good psychiatrist, but if not you may be lumbered with a bad psychiatrist and bad treatment for 5 or 10 years.’
Joining Prof Murray on the Commission are Dr Shubulade Smith, Consultant Psychiatrist and Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s, and Professor David Taylor, Director of Pharmacy and Pathology at King’s.