RCPsych Awards 2021 

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.

RCPsych Lifetime Achievement Award

Professor Louis Appleby

See what Professor Appleby's colleagues had to say about this illustrious psychiatrist. You can also watch him receive his award and hear his acceptance speech in the full recording.

PsychSoc of the Year

QUB Mind Matters

QUB Mind Matters PsychSocQueen’s University Belfast PsychSoc are a rapidly expanding and dedicated Psychsoc who created a dynamic and diverse programme of educational psychiatry experiences for their members across Northern Ireland and beyond. Their accolade of successful 2019-2020 events helped to reduce perceived stigma of mental health, featured lived experience within the medical community and highlighted the opportunities a career in psychiatry offers.

Key achievements have included hosting the National PsychSoc Twitter Takeover, which featured 15 PsychSocs as well as proposing and co- hosting the National Psychiatry Summer School. In addition, to facilitate shared learning, QUB PsychSoc created a communication channel for all UK PsychSoc committee members. This has helped drive national collaboration between universities.

They are also very active on Facebook and Twitter engaging with members, patients, and carers on a daily basis.

Their events have helped to reduce perceived stigma of mental health, feature lived experience within the medical community and highlighted the opportunities a career in psychiatry offers.

Mind Matters place great importance on facilitating shared learning from their experiences and have featured in published articles and presented their work both internationally and nationally to RCPsych committees.

We commend them as worthy winners of this award.

Foundation Doctor of the Year

Dr Jamie Leveret

Jamie LeveretDr Leveret is an academic foundation doctor, Elizabeth Blackwell Institute Primer recipient and lecturer at the University of Bristol. She leads a study into ACT for young people with CFS/ME and is investigating the association between puberty and depression in boys. As a mindfulness teacher she deliveries MBCT for depression. She is leading a project addressing poverty in clinical paediatric settings.

The entries were all outstanding Foundation trainees and the judging panel were hugely impressed with what that they had achieved, especially given the challenges faced by all trainees over the past year. We were particularly struck that, as well as developing as leaders, researchers and educators, all of them were excellent clinicians. Comments described them as “putting patients as the central focus”, “sensitive”, “compassionate” and a “great team player”. Well done to all of them!

It was very difficult this year to separate the entries and the scoring was close. Dr Leveret stood out because of the breadth of her achievements across several fields. In addition to her clinical and research work, she also took the time to train in acceptance and commitment therapy, yoga and mindfulness AND then use these skills to support other colleagues during this very difficult year. We loved what her nominating Consultant said about her, so will unashamedly steal it – ‘Despite her many commitments Jamie always brings her whole self to whatever she does and carries out her work with sincerity and joy’

Core Psychiatric Trainee of the Year

Dr Thomas Hewson

Tom HewsonDr Tom Hewson in an Academic Clinical Fellow in psychiatry in Manchester. He is co-founder of the PsychStart mentoring scheme, and junior doctor representative on the Health Education England Foundation Assurance Board. His research focuses on the mental health of offender populations, including recently exploring the impacts of COVID-19 within prisons. He is passionate about medical education and promoting workplace wellbeing.

The remarkable breadth and range of Dr Hewson's achievements bely his core trainee status. He co-founded the PsychStart mentoring scheme for medical students and extended the concept through a buddy scheme for International medical graduates helping improve their outcomes and experience. He has academic publications, has led Quality improvement projects in Medical Education and has excellent feedback from colleagues regarding the clinical care he provides. In the words of his nominator he embodies the principle of "lift as you climb".

Higher Psychiatric Trainee of the Year

Dr Alex Till

Alex TillDr Alex TIll is a Specialty Registrar in Forensic Psychiatry and the Founder and Director of the RCPsych Leadership and Management Fellow Scheme.

Alongside his clinical training he has completed the National Medical Director's Clinical Fellow Scheme, chaired the Psychiatric Trainees' Committee, and attained an Executive MBA with distinction.

Dr Till is proud to lead the RCPsych Leadership and Management Fellow Scheme and support the next generation of medical leaders within psychiatry.

He has consistently excelled in all aspects of his training and has demonstrated high level of achievements in clinical, educational, research and leadership domains. His strong sense of social responsibility is matched by his drive and passion. This is reflected in the wide range of outcomes that he has achieved - from the creation and expansion of the Leadership and Management Fellowship scheme to the new Digital Special Interest Group and the numerous high quality academic papers he has produced.

His nominator says this about him "Alex epitomises the professionalism expected of psychiatrists and those involved in College work".

Patient Contributor of the Year

Dr Emma McAllister

Dr Emma McAllister is the lived experience representative of the RCPsych Liaison Psychiatry Faculty Executive Committee.

She has written, advised, and spoken extensively, with a focus on calling attention to exclusion and discrimination, and promoting dignity and access to care and treatment.

In 2020 she co-organised the Liaison Psychiatry Webinar Series, providing 29 hours of free webinars featuring 86 speakers, to over 1,000 individual attendees.

Dr McAllister has worked as a Lived Experience Worker Representative with the College. She is highly respected and valued by colleagues especially on the Liaison Psychiatry Faculty Executive Committee. She has made an outstanding impact and contributions over many years. Dr McAllister has selflessly used her lived experience to improve clinical safety and quality in local services – such as her work with Mental Welfare Commission. She has influenced national policy, educated mental health professionals, and inspired others through her RCPsych responsibilities.

Dr McAllister has been involved in volumes of communication through numerous platforms – such as peer-reviewed articles, academic conferences, social media. When communicating about the reality of mental illness can be difficult, she is careful to project a message of hope.

Carer Contributor of the Year

Neil Grace

Neil GraceNeil worked in various roles for Substance Misuse Services over a number of years. Whilst working in this field, he completed his counselling qualification and started to offer 1:1 support to those caring for somebody living with substance misuse.

He joined GMMH as Carer Lead in 2016 and works to make services carer aware, enabling staff to better identify carers, helping promote support for carers in their own right and working to ensure that carers experiences are utilized in mental health care.

Neil is a committed advocate and a strong voice for Carers within his Trust. He is a point of contact for carers when they require additional support and an enthusiastic advocate to 6,000 staff members on the benefits of identifying carers early, supporting them in their own right and he works tirelessly to support services in the involvement of carers.

In the last 12 months, Neil has supported newly acquired services to roll out Carers’ Information packs and allocate Carer Champions within all teams. His work underpinned the development of ‘Carers, Family & Friends Strategy’. In addition, he teaches at various levels and is involved in wider policy.

Psychiatric Communicator of the Year

Professor Carmine M Pariante

Carmine ParianteCarmine M Pariante is Professor of Biological Psychiatry at King’s College London, and Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. He has published more that 400 scientific papers, and appears regularly in international media outlets to discuss mental health issues.

The entries this year for the Communicator of the Year were exceptional. It was nigh impossible to decide who the winner ought to be. In the end the judges unanimously chose Professor Pariante.

Professor Pariante has communicated with the general public about psychiatry, using various media including radio, TV documentaries, podcasts, national and international newspapers, and magazines.

He has an enviable following on social media and his BlogSpot Inspire the Mind has had over 100,000 views since its inception 3 years ago.

There is little doubt that he is a worthy winner.

Psychiatric Educator of the Year

Dr Roshelle Ramkisson

Roshelle RamkissonDr Ramkisson is a Child Psychiatrist, Director of Medical Education In Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, NICE Fellow , Senior Lecturer at the University of Bolton and Honorary Senior lecturer Global mental health research capacity and capability lead at the University of Manchester. Her focus is on developing systems, exploring innovations and empowering the workforce to deliver evidence-based care.

Dr. Ramkisson has shown a remarkable range and breadth of local, national and global accomplishments in psychiatric education across the past year. Dr. Ramkisson has played a key role in variety of roles in the past year including Director of Medical Education (DME), Training Programme Director (TPD) for core training HEENW and Associate Director of Medical Education (ADME) for Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Ramkisson is dynamic and transformational educational leader. She is described by trainees as ‘an inspiration’ and as ‘an enthusiastic, supportive and highly competent trainer’. She is extremely approachable and always willing to offer individual advice and support for trainees.

Dr Ramkisson has also championed the continued delivery of medical education throughout COVID, including collaborating with trainers across the region to deliver a well-regarded virtual teaching programme across Pennine Care. She elevates those around her, encouraging both trainers and trainees to reach their full potential, and has helped numerous colleagues to make connections in psychiatry and collaborate on various projects. She is truly a fantastic example of ‘lift while you climb’.

It was a toughly fought year with some excellent applications but Dr Ramkisson’s nomination clearly stood out amongst them, making her win a great credit.

Saraswati Devi Jajoo Memorial Academic Researcher of the Year

Dr Marta Di Forti

Marta Di FortiDr Marta Di Forti is a Clinical Academic working at KCL and in SLaM. She leads the first and only Cannabis Clinic for patients with Psychotic disorders in UK. She was recently awarded a MRC Senior Research Fellowship to expand her research in the role of cannabis use in psychosis and its underlying biology.

Dr Di Forti was the first to show that; a) high potency cannabis carries a higher risk of psychosis than traditional types; b) psychotic patients who use cannabis have earlier onset than those who do not, and; c) cannabis use impacts on the incidence of psychosis across Europe. She initiated the first Cannabis Clinic for Patients with psychosis in UK.

Dr Di Forti was nominated as Academic Researcher of the Year by Professor Oliver Howes who highlighted the impact of Dr Di Forti’s work internationally on understanding psychosis risk and on public policy. Her work has enabled Dr Di Forti to attract substantive research income including an MRC Senior Fellowship.

Dr Di Forti impressed the judging panel for Academic Researcher of the Year with her consistent output of highly-cited outstanding research papers and by the accounts of her commitment and skills both as a lecturer and as mentor. Among strong set of nominees for this award, Dr Di Forti stood out as a worthy recipient.

Specialty Doctor/Associate Specialist of the Year

Dr Phil Temple

Phil TempleDr Phil Temple is based at Little Plumstead Hospital, working in both a Medium Secure Unit for patients with neurodevelopmental disorders and an Assessment and Treatment Unit. He has a keen interest in medical education; innovation; improving access to physical healthcare for patients with learning disability; and raising awareness of mental health issues, including neurodevelopmental disorders, within medicine and beyond.

Judges decided Dr Temple was worthy recipient of the award due to his enhanced clinical and communication skills within diverse inpatient and community settings; and the extent to which he is a medical educator and is involved in training of his multidisciplinary colleagues in addition to his active role in innovative clinical projects. His public education focus and successful TED talk has been influential in highlighting the interface between physical and mental health. He embodies the spirit of a SAS doctor by being a clinical leader, innovator and medical educator whilst working tirelessly for the benefit of all of his vulnerable patients.

Psychiatrist of the Year

Professor Asif Zia

Asif ZiaProfessor Asif Zia is a consultant Psychiatrist and Director for Quality and Medical Leadership at Hertfordshire Partnership University Foundation Trust. He is passionate about improving experience of people with intellectual Disability across Mental Health services and developing Mental Health Leaders of the future. Asif is author of many academic papers and book chapters.

Professor Zia has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to compassionate leadership, putting patients at the centre of all he does. He was rightly praised for his role in the trust gaining CQC outstanding rating for patient safety. He is kind and considerate and well liked by all those who work with him. A richly deserved win.

Psychiatric Team of the Year: Children and adolescents

Riverside Adolescent Unit, Bristol, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

Riverside Adolescent Unit

Riverside Adolescent Unit provides inpatient and day patient assessment and treatment for young people aged 13 to 18 who have severe and complex mental health difficulties that have not responded to community based interventions. The team consists of clinical staff (nursing, psychiatry and therapists), education staff and admin staff who work collaboratively to improve outcomes for young people.

The judges were greatly impressed with the creativity and flexibility the Riverside Adolescent unit team demonstrated when they changed their service completely after the first COVID-19 lockdown. They worked closely with young people and families throughout and delivered what had been in-patient care to remote working , while still seeing those who needed face to face contact. The whole multi-disciplinary team showed great leadership and commitment to providing high quality care which delivers great outcomes for young people.

Psychiatric Team of the Year: Working-age adults

The London Nightingale Hospital Mental Health Team, NHS Nightingale

Nightingale London TeamThe LNHMHT, comprising of ex-military and NHS psychiatrists and mental health nurses bought together rapidly, devised and implemented a mental health support plan for the newly established London Nightingale hospital that was anticipated to care for more than 2,000 patients if fully utilised. The team’s evidence-based approaches were later used as the template for many NHS Trusts' staff support plans.

Entries for this category came from teams working in a wide variety of settings. The diversity of functions was such that it was difficult to identify a single winner, especially given the quality of services being delivered. Ultimately, the Nightingale Hospital Team won because of the incredible speed at which they developed highly innovative practice where there was no prior model. Further, the content of their Standard Operating Procedure was used and applied by many others during the pandemic. In many ways, they represent the huge amount of high quality work that was done by so many and is such a spirit of cooperation during the COVID pandemic.

Psychiatric Team of the Year: Older-age adults

Reach Out Delirium team, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

Reach Out Delirium teamReach Out was developed to offer an innovative and proactive approach to the prevention, detection and management of Delirium. The service was designed therefore to focus on quality of life and reduce LOS in patients with Delirium within the acute hospital setting and has been of huge benefit throughout the pandemic, supporting patients, families and staff.

Entries for this award were very impressive, and it was inspiring to read about the diverse and imaginative approaches that older adult mental health services have taken to meet the needs of patients in very difficult circumstances. The Reach-Out Delirium Team is innovative, lean, effective and it has demonstrated outstanding leadership and we are delighted to award them the Older Age Team of the Year.

Psychiatric Team of the Year: Intellectual Disability

Cornwall Adult Intellectual Disability Epilepsy Service, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

15 - Cornwall Adult Intellectual Disability epilepsy service

The team is two ID-epilepsy nurses supported by sessions from four psychiatrists, located within the multi-disciplinary LD service. It links to adult social care, neurology/neurophysiology/ neuroradiology/neurodisability, pharmacy, primary and acute liaison services, epilepsy specialist centres. An active research unit, Cornwall Intellectual Disability Equitable Research (CIDER) is co-located between the service, Trust research team and the University of Plymouth Medical School.

The reflections of the judges on the Cornwall Adult Intellectual Disability Epilepsy Team included how the team excelled in meeting the criteria for the award. There was clear evidence of high-standards in quality improvement in the service where it had moved with changes in knowledge and services and their achievements during the pandemic.

The team actively contributes to academic endeavour in the important area of epilepsy care in people with intellectual disabilities. The contributions from a wide range of disciplines have helped the service excel in providing exemplary care to their patients through strong leadership and commitment from all the team – and all achieved within existing resources, demonstrating what can be gained through creative clinical endeavour.

Psychiatric Team of the Year: Quality Improvement

Irwell Ward Quality Improvement Team, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

16 - Irwell Ward

Irwell Ward, a six-bedded Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) had one of the highest uses of restrictive practice. There had been a significant increase in the use of seclusion, restraint, and rapid tranquilisation. They set up a project with the Royal College of Psychiatry – Reducing Restrictive Practice, along with 41 PICUs from across the country. Out of the 42 PICUS who took part in this project, Irwell Ward saw the biggest reductions.

The aim of Irwell Ward’s project was to reduce the use of restrictive interventions by 40%, empower patients to participate in care planning and reduce the risk of re-traumatisation associated with the use of restrictive interventions. By April 2020, the following had been achieved by the team: Overall data showed a 61% reduction in the use of restrictive practice, Physical restraint had decreased by 70%. There was a 79% reduction in the use of seclusion, Rapid tranquilisation had been reduced by 76%.

Psychiatric Team of the Year: Outstanding commitment to Sustainability/Green Care

From Plot to Perfect Poo, Anxiety Disorders Residential Unit, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

17 - From Plot to Perfect Poo

The Anxiety Disorders Residential Unit is a specialist service for treating severe treatment refractory obsessive compulsive disorders, phobias and PTSD. Residents stay on average 12 weeks and receive intensive cognitive behaviour therapy in compassion focused therapeutic community. The centre has a long history of high quality care and proven outcome results.

The project “From Plot to Perfect Poo” at the Anxiety Disorders Residential Unit puts sustainability at its heart. The unit is set in open green space of the Bethlem Royal hospital where they have created an allotment for residents. They receive support to grow and cook produce and source local ingredients for everyday eating.

The project will also form the basis of a new hospital café run by residents. Food at the planned café, called ‘Guts’, enhances gut microbiota and promotes the importance of a healthy gut to mental health. The project empowers residents and promotes a culture of belonging through shared tasks such as gardening, cooking and hospitality.