Independent psychiatry beyond the National Health Service (NHS) is growing in the UK. However the history of the College can lead it to be NHS-centred in its outlook. Psychiatrists engaged in ‘private practice’ have at times been excluded from their collegiate peer group. We explore here the underlying and challenging issues of professional values, stigma, and occupational motivation. In the spirit of its commitment to raising standards, it is pleasing that the College is beginning to look beyond the NHS, supporting the professional development of non-NHS members, and including them in quality initiatives. We must all discover the value for patients in an open and independent perspective on what drives psychiatry in the UK.