Our yearly RCPsych Awards celebrate the best and brightest teams and individuals in our field.
Below you'll find the winners in each of the 17 categories, from psychiatrists of all grades and levels of training, to teams working throughout mental health care.
You can also see pictures of the winners receiving their awards at the awards ceremony.
RCPsych Lifetime Achievement Award
Professor Roy McClelland
Medical Student of the Year
Haridha Pandian is a final year medical student at King's College London. In 2017, she graduated with a first-class intercalated BSc (Hons) degree in Physiology and Basic Medical Sciences. Haridha was appointed as President of KCL Psychiatry Society in 2017 and is currently one of 10 RCPsych Psych Stars. She has interests in medical education, global health and liaison psychiatry.
The judges said that in a hotly contested field, Haridha clearly demonstrated her potential as a truly outstanding psychiatrist of the future. Building on over 200 voluntary hours for Nightline, Haridha was considered 'Exceptional' during her psychiatric rotation, has been president of her university psychiatry society and has actively contributed to the recruitment of future psychiatrists, reflected in her recent appointment as one of 10 RCPsych 'Psych Stars'. It would be an honour for Haridha to join our profession and there is no doubt she will continue to have a glittering career in psychiatry.
Foundation Doctor of the Year
Dr Thomas Hewson
Dr Thomas Hewson is an academic junior doctor in Manchester and a Foundation Fellow of RCPsych. He co-founded the PsychStart mentoring scheme, providing role models and support for students considering psychiatry. He has published and internationally presented research examining decision-making in offenders with mental illness. He represents his colleagues locally at BMA meetings and nationally in HEE's Foundation Programme Review.
The judges felt that Tom has demonstrated a high level of commitment to pursuing a career in psychiatry. He has set up the 'PsychStart' mentoring scheme, uses social media very effectively to promote psychiatry as a future career and has demonstrated an aptitude for clinical practice in psychiatry in the course of his FY1 post in psychiatry in Manchester.
Core Psychiatric Trainee of the Year
Dr Lesley Thoms
Dr Lesley Thoms is a psychology graduate and previous National Medical Director's Clinical Fellow. She has received a local award for her strong work ethic and patient-centred, inter-professional approach to clinical practice. Dr Thoms is an active Dementia Friends Champion and is currently realising her passion for improving dementia care by completing a PhD at King's College London.
The judges were impressed by Dr Thom's commitment to provide and drive quality mental health care consistently going above and beyond to support patients and colleagues. She has demonstrated strong leadership for someone at her stage of training including completing a Masters in Leadership and holding post of CQC specialist advisor. She has worked tirelessly to promote psychiatry as a specialty through her educational work and has been involved in research into staff attitudes towards ADHD and learning disabilities.
Higher Psychiatric Trainee of the Year
Dr Golnar Aref-Adib
Dr Golnar Aref-Adib is an ST6 NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Psychiatry and works clinically in an Acute Day Unit in London. She has published papers on the therapeutic use of technology for severe mental illness in The Lancet Psychiatry and presented her research at RCPsych International Congress. She enjoys blogging for The Mental Elf, has two young children and is a wellness enthusiast.
The judges felt that Golnar is an exceptional clinician and academic and is driven by values of altruism to empower patients and colleagues. Her work to address the digital divide amongst refugees living in London is testament to this. She has won plaudits for her research focussing on digital interventions for people with severe mental illness. The judges were impressed with her strength across all domains including her drive to communicate effectively with the general public and those she teaches.
Service User/Patient Contributor of the Year
John Venable is an outstanding member of Tees Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation Trust service user network. He is supportive to patients and staff, and always has time to listen. He is a MHFA trainer, helps and supports the suicide prevention initiative, and helps wherever he can across all areas of our Trust. He is a real motivator and an asset to both ourselves and the NHS.
The judges said, “After a car accident that left him with life changing injuries, John used this experience to the benefit of supporting others and built up a reputation that made a positive impact to improve a wide range of Mental Health Services. He remains involved in the recruitment of staff, Hospital inspections, Service User Networks and numerous Steering Committees throughout his local Trust and is a role model to Service Users through the Service User Network, earning him great respect. John has also been involved in the development of the new Mental Health Bill, speaking about Mental Health on several occasions in the House of Commons. We congratulate John on a tremendous achievement as service user of the year.”
Carer Contributor of the Year
Vanessa Lee is married to Kevin and has five sons, aged 23 to 32. Her youngest son, Harry, has High Functioning Autism and Schizoaffective Disorder. Vanessa runs a support group calls Autistic What +, in Hastings. She enjoys time spent with her family, looking after grandchildren and photography.
The judges noted that Vanessa is an enthusiastic and committed supporter of services and for people living with Autism, having set up a support group in her locality for families. She has produced a training film for Sussex police to provide information when dealing with individuals who have Autistic Spectrum Disorder. In addition, Vanessa has helped with quality improvement to reducing restrictive practices and championed the appointment of a therapy dog to her local psychiatric intensive care ward. Through this dedication and diversity of achievements, Vanessa is a worthy winner in this category.
Psychiatric Communicator of the Year
Dr Derek Tracy
Dr Derek Tracy is a consultant psychiatrist & clinical director at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, London, and a senior lecturer at King's College London. He sits on the editorial board of the British Journal of Psychiatry, writing its Kaleidoscope & Highlights columns, and helps run its social media.
The judges noted that Dr Tracy has successfully engaged a wide range of audiences across a wide range of media. He has a wonderful ability to transmit enthusiasm and excitement for the subject matter of psychiatry and has become an unofficial ambassador for the College in sharing information and breaking down barriers and stigma against mental health. His roles extends beyond, working with two charities engaging those with mental health difficulties and a wider public in mental health education, de-stigmatisation, instilling hope and positivity. Dr Tracy's title of communicator of the year is well deserved.
Psychiatric Educator of the Year
Dr Jim Boylan
Dr Jim Boylan is a CAMHS specialist and has been Director of Medical Education at Tees Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation Trust since 2012. He is an Honorary Senior Lecturer and a Director of Undergraduate Clinical Studies within the new Medical School at The University of Sunderland. His training interests include enhanced Workplace Based Assessment, Narrative Techniques and supporting IMGs in Psychiatry.
The judges felt that several entries were of extremely high standard, but Dr Boylan emerged the clear winner.
He is described as an exceptional and inspiring medical educator. Under his leadership as Director of medical education, he has developed the Faculty of Medical Education within Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS foundation Trust to be a national exemplar. Alongside a strong strategic and operational approach in medical education, he has never lost his own passion for teaching and regularly provides teaching for medical students, trainees and consultants which are consistently evaluated as excellent. He ensures a strong user and carer involvement in teaching. He is an educator who leads by example, hard work, humour and humility. A truly deserving recipient of the RCPsych educator of the Year award.
Rukaman Devi Jajoo Memorial Academic Researcher of the Year
Professor James Walters
Professor James Walters' research uses genetics to increase the understanding of the nature of psychiatric disorders, aiming to improve clinical care for those with psychosis and schizophrenia. This work relies on partnerships with patients, families and colleagues, as demonstrated by the international consortium that James co-leads, bringing together 500 researchers and 75000 research participants worldwide, providing novel insights into the basis of schizophrenia.
The review panel said, “This year we had exceptional candidates and it was very hard to determine an outright winner so further judges were enlisted. The judging panel's decision was that Prof James Walters is the winner of this award however would like to acknowledge that the others shortlisted are also outstanding researchers. Professor Walters demonstrates his commitment to training the next generation through leading Cardiff undergraduate psychiatry curriculum re-development and has supervised many medical students, psychiatric trainees and PhD students. Prof Walters is a worthy recipient of this award.”
Specialty Doctor/Associate Specialist of the Year
Dr Elizabeth Dawson
Dr Elizabeth Dawson has worked as a Specialty Doctor in Psychiatry of Old Age since 2012. She is serving Chair of the RCPsych NI SAS group and has trained both as a mentor and College Assessor. She has also recently been appointed as the first SAS tutor and a Foundation Educational Supervisor within the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.
The judges felt that Dr Dawson is a worthy winner of the specialty doctor award. She has great leadership qualities and has been highly commended as the chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists SAS doctors in Northern Ireland. She provides an excellent standard of care to older adults in Northern Ireland as shown by excellent feedback.
She has a high profile in the local community and speaks to groups such as the Alzheimer's Society. She's much called upon for her expertise in navigating the CESR process to obtain specialist registration.
Psychiatrist of the Year
Dr Shubulade Smith
Dr Lade Smith is a generally trained psychiatrist and Visiting Senior Lecturer. She leads the Acute Forensic Pathway at the South London Partnership. She is Clinical Director of the NCCMH at the RCPsych. Dr Smith co-organises the RCPsych International Congress. Committed to improving quality by eliminating inequality in mental healthcare, Dr Smith was awarded a CBE in June 2019.
The judges said:
This year was an exceptional one for entries to this category. However, there could only be one winner. Lade is a multi-talented psychiatrist. She leads a patient centred clinical service but also finds time for research and to work towards the removal of the unjust inequalities in our healthcare system. She is a fantastic role model and an inspirational leader. We were delighted to choose her to receive this award.
Psychiatric Team of the Year – Children and adolescents
Lichfield CAMHS, Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust
Lichfield CAMHS are a small but diverse team that offer a wide range of interventions in a compassionate and timely manner to young people. The team have maintained high standards of care despite a decrease in resources and increase in referral numbers and have been recognised for their strong team ethos, collective leadership and creative ways of working.
The judges were impressed by the way resources were used in a relatively small Community CAMHS service to offer a wide range of interventions, despite an increase in referrals and no increase in workforce. Quality improvement is embedded in the service and the team demonstrated good collaborative working relationships and morale, offering a wide range of interventions and integration with primary care. This is an excellent team across all domains.
Psychiatric Team of the Year – Working-age adults
Deancross: Tower Hamlets Personality Disorder Service, East London NHS Foundation Trust
Deancross team members are drawn from around the world, from multiple disciplines (ranging from psychoanalysis to public health). As such it sees its brief as a specialist personality disorder service to serve its patients, support their families, and assist the wider services working with them. It achieves this through innovative evidence-based treatment, and an extensive teaching and research programme.
The judges were impressed by the forward thinking in this service. They have adopted an innovative approach to therapies, whilst taking care to embed teaching and research in the team. There was clear attention paid to spreading and sharing their learning so that others could benefit.
Psychiatric Team of the Year – Older-age adults
Beech Team, Devon Partnership NHS Trust
The Beech Team care for older adult functional inpatients throughout South Devon. Compassionate leadership has supported staff wellbeing as shown by no unfilled vacancies for the last 4 years. Beech have a strong ethos of continuous quality improvement, which has led to high quality inpatient care (no formal complaints for 4 years), while remaining consistently under budget.
The judges said: There was very stiff opposition for this award but this year's winner, Beech Team, was particularly impressive. They demonstrated a culture of continuous improvement and innovation which involved all members of the team. Excellent leadership along with the involvement of patients and carers has led to compassionate caring and safe environment which staff are queueing up to join. This team is a worthy winner.
Psychiatric Team of the Year – Intellectual Disability
Adult Learning Disability North Tees Community Team, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust
The North Tees Adult LD team works alongside patients, carers and any involved agencies to help optimise care and support for patients with LD. The team have a singular focus on doing what is right for an individual and does so to the best of its ability, as straightforwardly as possible.
The judges said that The North Tees Team in their work has fulfilled the three criteria of a Quality service with good Leadership and the effective use of resources. The judges were impressed by the Team's commitment to ensuring good access to services for patients by removing barriers to care that has resulted in reduced waiting times and more time spent in face-to-face contact with patients and their carers. The Team has achieved an impressive reduction in in-patient admissions in five years.
In the North Tees Team the leadership model has been reshaped to allow leaders and managers to take on tasks to free clinical staff to practice their clinical skills. The Team has demonstrated how Lean methodology can be used effectively to provide high-quality services when resources have been reduced in the service. They have sought innovative ways to continue to meet the needs of the patient group.
Psychiatric Team of the Year – Quality Improvement
Grangewood Crisis Service, Western Health And Social Care Trust
The Grangewood Crisis service team is made up of a multidisciplinary group of professionals including Nurses, Doctors, Social Workers and Occupational Therapists. Our Service has embedded weekly meetings for all staff to attend with a Quality Improvement focus. Service users are invited to be involved in their projects and have been key to successful projects such as Safety Planning.
The judges felt that the Grangewood Team addressed a critical issue in relation to suicide prevention. They used an evidence-based approach to developing personal safety plans. They applied robust QI methodology and good data to bring positive change about. They made excellent progress towards an ambitious goal and have plans to further spread their good practice.
Psychiatric Team of the Year – Outstanding commitment to sustainable service development
Social change: improving air pollution, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
The Trust's Chief Medical Officer called for volunteers to help reduce air pollution. Six teams (156 staff) volunteered. They implemented initiatives including online meetings, walking to work, public transport, car sharing and planting 400 bulbs & 4 trees. Some stopped eating meat. Within six months, they saved 16,481 kg Carbon Dioxide equivalent from business travel (£17,348 travel expenses), 5,735 kg Carbon Dioxide equivalent from commuter travel.
The review panel said that the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust project demonstrated detailed methodology and a real commitment to sustainability and reducing carbon footprint. The project empowered staff and there was effective local engagement. There were tangible results and the project was a good example for other services to replicate.