RCPsych Awards 2023 

RCPsych Awards 2023Our yearly RCPsych Awards celebrate the best and brightest teams and individuals in our field.

Below you'll find details of the winners across all of our categories, from psychiatrists of all grades and levels of training, to teams working throughout mental health care.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr Peter Hughes

Dr Peter HughesDr Peter Hughes is a Consultant Psychiatrist and Honorary Senior Lecturer  at Springfield University Hospital, London.

He has been Chair of the London Division since June 2018. Prior to this was he served as Vice Chair.

Dr Hughes is a former Chair and founder of the Volunteering and International Psychiatry Special Interest Group. His special interest is in global mental health and the mhGAP Programme.

Professor Dinesh Bhugra, a colleague of Dr Hughes, said:

“This award is richly deserved for Dr Hughes' contribution to international psychiatry, for all the volunteering and advocacy he has carried out beyond the call of duty.

“Dr Hughes is a true inspiration for the next generation to highlight what can be achieved. In honouring him, the College is acknowledging a truly exceptional individual who has achieved a tremendous amount for not only his patients but humanity at large.”

“In 2009, when I instituted the RCPsych annual awards, the Lifetime Achievement Award was one of the key awards. The aim was to recognise researchers, clinicians, policy influencers and others who had made major contributions to the field of psychiatry. Looking at the list over the last 13 years, the current awardee fits in extremely well. It was meant to recognise all those who may or may not have worked for the College in any capacity but had made significant contributions to improving mental health of patients, carers, families and general public.
“Dr Peter Patrick Hughes is a richly deserving individual. Over the past two decades or more that I have known him, not only he has been a hard-working consultant working beyond the call of duty in some of the most deprived areas in London, but he has also been involved in various College activities including chairing the largest Division of the College i.e., the London Division. He founded and chaired the Volunteering and International Special Interest Group of the College. However, over the past few decades he has worked assiduously on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support roles as a volunteer under the aegis of the World Health Organisation and other organisations in teaching and training community workers in some of the conflict-ridden countries around the world. He has delivered training in 40 countries including some of the hardest places around the world including Malawi, Somalia, Gaza, Ghana, Sudan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Iraq, Zimbabwe, Chad, Sierra Leone (in the times of Ebola) among others. He has delivered training in reducing Mental Health Gap (MhGap) on behalf of the WHO and helped create curricula for nurses and undergraduate medical students which have been received with great enthusiasm. He is indefatigable in his commitment to international psychiatry.
“Despite his busy travels, he has made significant contributions to psychiatry in the NHS through his Trust appointments and the College. Just to highlight a few of his achievements: He has chaired the London Division of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the London Choose Psychiatry Committee, and has been a member of the Human Rights Committee, and International Advisory Committee at the College. He has been Training Programme director Higher Specialist Training, Medical school sub dean, Mental Health Trust Lead in Audit, Regional Advisor South West London, Chair (and founder) of the Volunteering and International Psychiatry special interest group, and Co –founder of the College’s Syrian Refugee Task Force. In addition, he has continued as a College Examiner and lecturer to medical students. Among many awards to his leadership and team, he was awarded a President’s Medal in 2011 and shortlisted for Psychiatrist of the Year by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
His Lifetime Achievement Award is richly deserved for his contribution to international psychiatry, for all the volunteering and advocacy he has carried out beyond the call of duty. He is a true inspiration for the next generation to highlight what can be achieved. In honouring him, the College is acknowledging a truly exceptional individual who has achieved a tremendous amount for not only his patients but humanity at large.”

PsychSoc of the Year

KCL Psychiatry Society, King’s College London

KCL Psychiatry Society, King’s College LondonLast year KCL PsychSoc organised the tenth anniversary of the National Student Psychiatry Conference, bringing over 100 students from across the UK and 45 speakers to the RCPsych headquarters in London and exploring both recent developments and potential futures within Psychiatry.

They expanded their outreach medicine programme to more schools than before and presented at the International Congress.

From the judges:

“KCL PsychSoc has had a very successful 12 months with a varied and packed programme of events, including running an outreach programme in local schools and collaborating with other medical specialties to run educational events.

“The committee running this PsychSoc deserve recognition and acknowledgement for the fantastic job they did hosting what proved to be a very successful, informative and educational National Student Psychiatry Conference.

“It is fair to say that this particular Psych Soc is flourishing and goes from strength to strength, but importantly also wants to support neighbouring Medical School Psych Socs to help them develop.”

Foundation Doctor of the Year

Dr Jessica Speller

Dr Jessica SpellerDr Jessica Speller graduated in 2021. Whilst studying she developed serious illness, requiring frequent hospital admissions.

This ignited her interest in the interplay of physical and mental health and has led to her work supporting and advocating for colleagues and patients with complex health problems.

She is aiming to train as a GP with a special interest in psychiatry and education.

From the judges:

“The Foundation Doctor of the Year Award was a very difficult decision to make this year, because of the high standard of entries. We finally made a unanimous decision based on the breadth of this individual’s achievements, and the personal challenges they had overcome. Moreover, there was a real sense of warmth and humanity in the feedback about this individual.

“We felt that Dr Jessica Speller demonstrated many of the College’s values – not just excellence and learning, but also courage, innovation and collaboration in her daily life.

“We would like to congratulate all the trainees shortlisted for this award (Dr Speller, Dr Ward and Dr Walker) and very much look forward to working with them as our colleagues in the future.”

Core Psychiatric Trainee of the Year

Dr Hamilton Morrin

Dr Hamilton MorrinDr Hamilton Morrin is a core trainee at SLaM NHS Trust. He is president of the SLaM/Oxleas JDC and co-president of the PEEP mentoring scheme. He is an academic clinical fellow at the KCL IoPPN, undertaking neuropsychiatry research.

Hamilton is core lead and trustee for Gaming the Mind a charity focused on mental health and games, and co-hosts the BJPsych International podcast.

From the judges:

“Dr Morrin performs all core duties at an extraordinary level and has demonstrated consistent mastery in all aspects of duties and responsibilities. He is an inspiration to us all and has pushed psychiatry to greater heights with motivation, dedication, commitment, and optimism.

“He has been commended for exemplary clinical knowledge and skills. He is a team worker, participating in quality improvement projects. He is well liked by his colleagues and is overall a credit to the profession.”

Higher Psychiatric Trainee of the Year

Dr Jonathan Rogers

Dr Jonathan RogersDr Jonathan Rogers is a Wellcome Trust clinical research training fellow at UCL and a specialty registrar in general adult and old age psychiatry at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

He has recently completed a PhD on the epidemiology and neuropsychiatry of catatonia. He was also lead author for the British Association for Psychopharmacology’s recent guideline on catatonia.

From the judges:

“This year, as ever, the standard of entries for the higher trainee award was incredibly high. It really makes us feel that the future of psychiatry is in safe hands.

“The judges felt that Dr Jonathon Rogers application was exceptional. It says a lot that his work delivering teaching, supervising masters students, leading research and publishing papers could be considered as ‘in the background’.

“The real highlight of his application was the development of the BAP catatonia guidelines. The scope and scale of this one piece of work, showed a level of skill across the domains of professional, clinician, leader, educator and researcher that really stood Dr Rogers apart from other candidates.”

Patient Contributor of the Year

Lenna Adley

Lenna AdleyLenna Adley has over three decades of lived experience of having struggled with their mental ill health, spending over three years in hospital.

Lenna never thought they would be well enough to work but through using their lived experience to help improve the service, they found their voice and is now able to work fulltime.

From the judges:

“The judges commended Lenna for being an intrinsic improver. They have contributed to many areas of the East London NHS Foundation Trust to improve care and experiences for service users and staff through their sharing lived experience. They have also helped with co-designed and co-delivery quality improvement training within the Trust.”

Carer Contributor of the Year

Gisele Jefferis

Gisele JefferisGisele Jefferis, member of the Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Carer Council, has been the main Carer for her son for 20 years.

With Paranoid Schizophrenia, he was the first to be referred to EROS in 2019, helping his transition into the community.

Gisele has helped EROS to develop new pathways and provided insights into Carers’ experience, for Carers’ needs to be recognised and met.

From the judges:

“Gisele has been integral in developing the Enhanced Rehabilitation Outreach Service. She has always been willing to share her experiences to help the team identify gaps in the service provision.

“She has been an inspiration for the team to strive that extra mile for carers and patients, exploring innovative ways to support them along their journeys. She is a worthy winner of the Carer Contributor award.”

Psychiatric Communicator of the Year

The Nexus Project

The Nexus ProjectNexus is a film drama about the impact of Covid-19 on young people's mental health. Our team is a cross-sector partnership across West London NHS Trust, Imperial College London, InnerEye Productions and young people with lived experience.

We have worked in partnership across all project stages sharing power and decisions throughout.

From the judges:

“This year's submissions were of a particularly high quality. They demonstrated that psychiatrists and their associates are using the full range of media to bring mental health issues to the attention of the general public.

“The winning nomination, The Nexus film project, is a collaboration between an NHS Trust, an academic centre, a film production company, and – crucially – writers, actors, and producers who include young people with lived experiences of mental illness, poverty, and deprivation amplified by the pandemic.

“It captures their experiences, and also the bonds between friends, and how they endured despite their difficulties. The film has been shown widely and is critically acclaimed. An impressive and inspiring achievement.”

Psychiatric Educator of the Year

Dr Aditya Narain Sharma

Dr Aditya Narain SharmaDr Sharma is a Clinical Senior Lecturer and Hon Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Newcastle University and CNTW NHS Foundation Trust.

He is clinical lead for the National Specialist Adolescent Mood disorders service based at Newcastle providing tertiary input for young people living with hard to manage mood disorders.

He has developed and coordinated the academic programme for the Northern Scheme in Child Psychiatry since 2010 and is Co-organiser of the child module of the BAP clinical Certificate course since 2015. In addition he delivers training on mood disorders internationally to health professionals.

From the judges:

“It was our pleasure to award the educator of the year to Dr Aditya Sharma. We were impressed by the commitment of Dr Sharma to create an environment and culture to educate others in the area of psychiatry that he is clearly passionate about. This drive was demonstrated by his involvement in mentorship, teaching programs and research.

“Not only was Dr Sharma committed to support doctors in training within his region he also had a role in stimulating research in psychiatry internationally. The panel were in no doubt that this commitment to learning would have translated to better patient care for so many people using our services in the UK and beyond.”

Specialty Doctor/Associate Specialist of the Year

Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad

Dr Ishtiaq AhmadDr Ahmad has been functioning in a senior capacity an Associate Specialist in Old Age Psychiatry for the past 27 years.

He’s been a BSMHFT SAS Clinical Tutor for the past 13 years, and in the past 12 months continued to build the SAS Academic programme.

Dr Ahmad is the founder organiser of a 4-year CESR training programme for aspiring SAS doctors to access the GMC Specialist Register.

In the last 6-months, Dr Ahmad has pushed to increase the number of contractual SPA’s made available to the SAS Doctors, and in the last year, one SAS doctor has submitted their application.

Dr Ahmad consistently leads from the front, tirelessly devoting himself to improving both his patients’ and colleagues’ experiences in the Trust. In the last year, he implemented a Buddy Scheme for newly appointed SAS doctors to help them settle into their new work environment, proving to be an invaluable initiative in bringing people into the Trust.

Furthermore, he has also focussed on enabling SAS Doctors to access Research and Audit opportunities via the Research and Development, and Clinical Governance Departments.

From the judges:

“Dr Ahmad is an exceptional clinician, educator and leader and a role model for many colleagues. He has been a tireless patient advocate for mental health patients, including for physical health outcomes.

“He is much loved SAS Tutor, supporting the career development of colleagues. He introduced a buddy system for early career SAS psychiatrists and improved service development and research opportunities for all.”

Psychiatrist of the Year

Dr Fabida Aria

Dr Fabida AriaDr Fabida Aria is an inspiring role model with endless energy who takes time to listen and speaks passionately about mental health and equality.

She is exceptional in all her roles; as a consultant psychiatrist and a medical director at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust; as specialist advisor for MTI and chair of transcultural psychiatry special interest group at RCPsych; and as an executive member of another charity.

From the judges:

“Dr Aria is an outstanding psychiatrist, clinician, leader and manager. She has overcome huge challenges to rise to the top of her profession. She is respected, admired and trusted by patients and colleagues.

“Her leadership has led to huge improvements in patient care. She is a deserved winner of the Psychiatrist of the Year award.”

Psychiatric Team of the Year: Children and Adolescents

Lincoln Hub Core Community CAMHS Team, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Lincoln Hub Core Community CAMHS TeamLincoln Hub Community core CAMHS is a multi-disciplinary team that offers a range of therapeutic services to young people in a catchment area centred around the city of Lincoln.

Since January 2022 they have undertaken a project to transform the service using a collaborative, democratic, and bottom-up developmental approach, empowering team members enabling the delivery of better outcomes.

From the judges:

“The judges were impressed with the Quality Improvement approach the team used to great effect to improve the team culture and functioning, with clear improvements in the quality of service delivered, the morale and competence of team members and workforce retention.

“This is in the context of increased referrals to the team and real challenges in recruiting and retaining clinicians. The voice and expertise of young people and parents/carers has been central to their service’s developments and delivery.”

Psychiatric Team of the Year: Working-age Adults

Mental Health Intensive Support Team (MhIST), Cheshire And Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Mental Health Intensive Support Team (MhIST)Mental health Intensive Support Team (MhIST) is a community rehabilitation service in the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

It is a diagnostically inclusive service which supports the rehabilitation of individuals with complex presentations.

It is a clinically led, person-centred and values driven service that is co-produced and designed with input from a wide range of stakeholders including experts by experience.

From the judges:

“The judges were impressed by the team’s commitment to improving outcomes for patients, and their approach to collaboration. The College has said that Out of Area placements can have a ‘devastating’ impact on patients and families.

“The winning team reduced Out of Area placements for patients, whilst also helping support a number of people back in to work or education.”

Psychiatric Team of the Year: Older-age Adults

Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals Psychiatric Liaison Service, Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals Psychiatric Liaison ServiceThe ASPH Psychiatric Liaison Service is a multidisciplinary team consisting of nurses, doctors and a psychologist as well as trainees in nursing and psychiatry.

The team provides mental health support adults 18+ with a subteam supporting older people that works closely with other services at St Peter's Hospital.

From the judges:

“The Older people’s liaison service has demonstrated, as a multidisciplinary team, how they have provided efficient and effective services to the older adults in acute hospital.

“Their work has significantly grown, and it is commendable that they have collaborated both internally and externally to be an exemplar service.”

Psychiatric Team of the Year: Digital Mental Health

Brain in Hand Team, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Brain in Hand TeamThe Brain in Hand (BIH) research team carried out a multi-site mixed methods cohort study of the BIH digital self-support system.

They found that over 12 weeks BIH significantly improved self-reported anxiety levels, functioning, and self-injurious behaviours among a study population of autistic adults, as well as adults with suspected autism.

From the judges:

“This group were chosen as the winner as they have conducted critical research on a digital system designed to support autistic people to manage their anxiety, improve their quality of life as well as improve their social functioning. As part of the development of this project, autistic people were involved in co-design of the study as valued partners.

“The outcomes of the research were positive and as a result of this well planned work, NICE approval was granted, making this the first such tool to receive formal recommendation. This has supported the expansion from a small pilot with less than 100 participants to use in dozens of Trusts with potential benefit to 1000s of people.

“Crucial work like this, done within the NHS in partnership with academia and industry allows digital innovations to start to deliver at pace and scale. This justifies the team receiving the inaugural Award for Digital Team of the Year.”

Psychiatric Team of the Year: Intellectual Disability

Norfolk Forensic Community Learning Disability (NFC-LD) Team, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust

Norfolk Forensic Community Learning Disability (NFC-LD) TeamThe Norfolk Forensic Community Learning Disability Service is a multidisciplinary team, launched in April 2022. The service supports people with an ID who have offended or are at risk of offending.

The objectives for the NFC-LD service are to:

  • reduce the offending and reoffending rates of people with learning disabilities
  • reduce the need for admissions to inpatient services
  • provide seamless support for service users in in-patient settings by offering direct work with individuals and advising and supporting the teams
  • increase access to specialist forensic advice for direct care providers and community teams
  • increase the capacity and capability of community providers, families and others, including the understanding of the criminal justice systems
  • support the assessment and pathway planning of forensic service users
  • develop person-centred assessments and facilitate the formulation of robust risk management strategies
  • to develop links and work in collaboration with other mainstream services.

From the judges:

“The Norfolk Team excelled in meeting the criteria for the award. The panellists were particularly impressed by the innovative pathway built on a strong, evidence-based model that has placed outcome and service evaluations at the heart of the service.

“The team demonstrated a clear commitment towards partnership working with all stakeholders and placed Service users, patients, families, and carers are at the very centre to shape the service.”

Psychiatric Team of the Year: Quality Improvement

Children and Young People Community Eating Disorder Service, East London NHS Foundation Trust

Children and Young People Community Eating Disorder ServiceThe team is a community-based, tri-borough specialist Eating Disorder Service, working with children and young people, and their families in East London.

The team comprises of a truly passionate, hard working, young person focused and collaborative multidisciplinary colleagues who go above and beyond to serve the local community.

They are dynamic and always willing to support the improvement of the service to better meet the needs of their patients. They have been dedicated in their work on the improving capacity and flow QI project which has resulted in improved performance and a more dynamic and responsive service for the young people and families.

From the judges:

“The judges were impressed with the service’s use of quality improvement methods to improve flow through their service in order to reduce wait times to therapies and access to psychiatry.

“They also commended the service for their achievement in reducing the number of young people waiting for Community Eating Disorders psychiatry reviews from 73 in September 2022 to 0 in December 2022.”

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

Telford and Wrekin Community Mental Health Service Depot Clinic, Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust

Telford and Wrekin Community Mental Health Service Depot ClinicThe Telford and Wrekin Community Mental Health Depot Clinic provide and administer depot antipsychotic medication to often vulnerable patients with a serious mental health illness.

Clinics operate daily with a team of dedicated staff, providing high quality treatment interventions, working in a green and sustainable way, using quality improvement methodology.

From the judges:

“This project successfully improved the timeliness of medication delivery to patients, preventing periods without necessary medication and reducing the risk of relapse due to treatment delays and potentially reducing the need for outpatient appointments and hospital admission.

“Patients have been empowered by enabling them to collect prescriptions at a pharmacy of their choice. The changes have been permanently embedded into the team, with a maintained ‘Plan Do Study Act’ style of making changes.”

Further information

If you have any queries about the awards, please contact the Membership Services team on MembershipServices@rcpsych.ac.uk.

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry