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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness


Patients and Carers Committee

The Patient and the Carers Committee is an advisory committee of the Council and shall act as a channel of communication between the College and psychiatric patients and carers. It will ensure that the College is informed of the views of the patients and carers and that patients’ and carers’ organisations are kept informed of College policy.

The Patients and Carers Committee shall consist of:

  1. Four Co-Chairs who will be:
    1. The Associate Registrar for Public Engagement (ex-officio)
    2. a Member appointed to assist the Associate Registrar appointed for a period not exceeding three years
    3. a patient representative and a carer representative, each of which shall be appointed for a period not exceeding three years, following a selection process including interview(s)
  2. The Registrar (ex-officio); and
  3. Any patient and / or carer representative that is a member of another College Committee (including the Faculty and Division Executive Committees); for each of these members, membership of the Patients and Carers Committee will end at the same time as the end of the term of office on these committees.


Welcome from the Registrar

Dr AdrianJames

Dr Adrian James

Thank you for finding the webpages of the Patients and Carers Committee of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The College exists to improve the lives and outcomes for the people we serve; the people who use our services and those who care for them. Our work would not be possible without the dedication and energy of service users and carers who work with the College to co-produce our work. We are fortunate to have good links with external stakeholder groups such as Mind and Rethink and value working in partnership with them. Any one of us may experience mental health difficulties at any time in our lives… and we welcome the enriching input of experts by experience.

I hope you find the website useful and informative.”



A Patient and a Carer of the relevant Faculties, Divisions and the following College committees shall represent at the Patients and Carers Committee:

  • Committees of the Council and Special Committees
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy and Related Treatments (ECT) Committee
  • Policy and Public Affairs Committee
  • Professional Practice and Ethics Committee
  • Psychiatric Trainees Committee
  • Psychopharmacology Committee
  • Public Engagement Committee
  • Special Committee on Informatics
  • Special Committee on Human Rights



The Patients and the Carers Committee will meet up to three times a year. Meeting dates for 2018 are as follows:

  • 13 June
  • 20 November


The Patients Forum (also known as the Service Users Forum) and the Carers Forum are the working titles of the two groups constituting the Patients and Carers Committee. The two forums will consist of:

  1. Three Co-Chairs:
    1. The Associate Registrar for Public Engagement
    2. The Member appointed to assist the Associate Registrar
    3. The patient representative (for the Patients / Service Users Forum) and the carer representative (for the Carers Forum), appointed to be the Co-Chairs of the Patient and the Carers Committee
  2. The Registrar (ex-officio); and
  3. The patient representatives of the Patient and Carers Committee for the Patient / Service Users Forum; and the carer representatives of the Patient and Carers Committee for the Carers Forum respectively


Service Users and Carers Vacancies

Vacancies for Service Users and Carers on the above mentioned Committees, Faculties and Divisions will be advertised here. Travel and subsistence payments will be made for volunteers including hotel costs if necessary and based on the level of involvement and the required effort, the College also remunerates for the time invested. 

If you would like to be informed by email when new vacancies are posted, please email



Co-Chairs of the Patients and Carers Committee


Dr Tony Rao

Dr Tony Rao

Associate Registrar of Public Engagement

Dr Rao is a community consultant old age psychiatrist who has worked in an inner city area of London for the past 19 years. He has been a strong advocate of improving services for older people with alcohol misuse and other mental disorders accompanying substance misuse (dual diagnosis); having developed the first dual diagnosis service for older people at South London and Maudsley NHS Trust.

Coming from a family of doctors, with both parents having been community doctors (geriatrics and learning disability) and having first-hand experience of having a brother with severe and enduring mental health problems, Dr Rao is a strong advocate of abolishing stigma and addressing social disadvantage.

Having completed 3 research degrees and also being a consultant and care coordinator at a clinical level, he has seen the benefits of translating unmet need into real policy change.

Dr Rao believes in the collective voice of patients and carers in making a difference to improving mental health services and changing public attitudes to mental illness.


Noel McKenna

Acting Co-Chair of the Carers’ Forum


Michelle Long

Co-Chair of the Carers’ Forum


Robert MilliganRobert Milligan

Co-Chair of the Service Users’ Forum

For over 20 years Robert has been involved in Mental Health support services. With a wish to try and eradicate the stigma and discrimination associated with Mental Health, he spends a lot of his time dealing with service users in a supportive role both in Northern Ireland and further afield. Originally trained as a Counsellor, Robert has a vast experience in issues affecting men and in particular Anger Management.

In his current role as an Independent Advocate, Robert supports patients through Mental Health Review Tribunals and helps them navigate their way around the court process with family and childcare procedures. Robert worked alongside Lord Crisp on the recent Commission to review the provision of acute inpatient psychiatric care for adults, in the role of Commissioner. Here he represented the service user perspective and used his experience of Mental Health services to highlight the need for the review. He sits on the Northern Ireland Division Committee as Service User representative.


Robert Walker

Robert Walker

Co-Chair of the Service Users’ Forum

Rob was described by Sir Ranulph Fiennes as “An intrepid explorer of the Mind! “At a book signing in 2013. As a rebranded service user Rob has successfully self-managed a severe and enduring mental health illness for over 26 years and his rehabilitation narrative is being promoted within the Faculty of Rehabilitation.

As a qualified Expert by Experience Rob helped pioneer a successful Challenging Stigma campaign which resulted in him being made a Member of the Institute of Mental Health in 2010. Rob went onto study Leadership and Empowerment in Mental Health at Liverpool John Moore’s University and qualified as an Honorary Lecture i in 2012, he continues to contribute to Continuing Professional Development at LJMU and Keele University and became an Associate Fellow of The Higher Education Academy in 2012.

In 2015 he was elected to the role as Deputy Lead Governor of an NHS Trust taking an active part in scrutiny and audit.

As a result of all his “Lived Experience” Rob was offered a consultancy role with the CQC working for their inspectorate.

In 2016 Rob was elected to his current role as Co-Chair of the Service User Fora within the College, other collaboration with The RCP includes PLAN, ACHOMS accreditation participation. His Expert by Experience Leadership & Management perspective can be viewed on the College website. Rob runs a successful company CHANGES PLUS Ltd which offers bespoke Mental Health training workshops to the public and private sectors.


Members of the Patients and Carers Committee

Rachel BannisterRachel Bannister

Rachel Bannister works as a supply teacher at a local Primary School but also works as a mental health campaigner. Her eldest daughter suffers from anxiety and depression as well as an eating disorder. In 2016 her daughter was sent over 300 miles for specialist treatment for anorexia nervosa. This situation caused enormous stress to both her daughter and the rest of the family but was also what led Rachel to speak out about the appalling state of our mental health services.

She has done radio interviews on the Today programme as well as 5live and two television news pieces with Channel 4 News and Victoria Macdonald. Last year she took part in the Channel 4 documentary ‘Wasting Away’ with Mark Austin and his daughter Maddy. This film looked at the postcode lottery of care for the treatment of eating disorders. More recently Rachel wrote an open letter to the secretary of state for health Jeremy Hunt which led to a meeting with him in January 2018. Rachel wrote an account of this meeting which was published in The Sunday Times. She also spoke on radio 4 The World at One to highlight not only the dreadful lack of continuity of care for those suffering with eating disorders, but also the worrying lack of consistency in the treatment that is offered throughout the UK. Rachel is currently organising a conference in Nottingham entitled ‘Mental Health- time for action’ which will take place 19thMay 2018 at Nottingham University.


Jayne Brown

Jayne Brown

Jayne has a degree in Psychology and is a member of British Psychological Society; she has worked within adult education and has recently become an expert by experience with the CQC. She cares for her son who has borderline personality disorder and ADHD. Her experience is as follows:

  • ADHD, the problems getting diagnosed and the negative way it is perceived
  • The CAMHS service and the difficulties accessing it and maintaining sufficient support
  • Issues within secondary school as to how they deal with children who have problems including ADHD, self-harm, drug abuse and mental illness
  • Adolescent drug abuse and the lack of help available, from the GP, school, social services and the police
  • The impact of violent and aggressive behaviour within the family home and the effect on the mental health of those involved. The realisation that the family is not safe, thus having to move our son into a hostel, despite still desperately trying to get him help
  • The impact of hostels on mental illness, high drug abuse and a disaster for vulnerable individuals
  • The inconsistent and disjointed approach within services, individuals getting lost within it
  • Basically setting up those who are the most vulnerable within our society to fail
  • Attempted suicides, laying on railway lines, closing York station, overdose, and trying to hang himself in custody
  • Prison and youth offender institutions, how they differ dealing with mental illness, self-harm and suicide attempts. The drug abuse within and the massive problem concerning spice
  • The lack of planned support on release, a system which is dysfunctional and dangerous for those suffering from poor mental health.


Diane GoslarDiane Goslar

Diane is a qualified librarian, sociologist, and teacher and translator of French. After looking after and expanding the Dunhill Museum in London, Diane established her own public relations practice providing services mainly to London architectural practices. Her business and career were brought to an abrupt end when she became totally alcohol dependent. Over time, and with a good deal of NHS treatment and support, she detoxed and entered recovery. Since then she has been deeply involved with the Royal College of Psychiatrists in a number of aspects.

Diane is a member of a number of the College’s committees and groups. She is also a steering group member for work on alcohol-related liver disease commissioned by the NIHR, and talks on a regular basis to students at St. George’s Medical School when they are studying addiction.

Diane has written and published a number of articles for various bodies, particularly the Royal College of Psychiatrists, as well as giving presentations both nationally and within the EU. These include:

  • Why service users need specialists
  • A patient presents
  • A perceptive and supportive iron hand  in a velvet glove
  • Recollections of a detox
  • What it is like to be an alcohol addict (presented to the European Parliament)

She has also made several podcasts, some of which can be found on the College’s website:


Martin Lee

Martin Lee

Martin Lee is a retired 63 year old consultant psychiatrist, honorary senior lecturer and former director of medical education. Martin has suffered from recurrent depression and anxiety since the age of 19. He has personal experience of out-patient and in-patient care, home treatment and psychological therapies.

Martin was appointed to the Service Users Forum in September 2014 and was the User representative on the London Division until his move to Devon in December 2015.

Martin’s particular interests are the treatment of affective disorders and the management of side-effects, the commissioning of mental health services and team working in the delivery of care. His aim as a member of the Patients and Carers Committee is to give a balanced view reflecting his experience as psychiatrist, educator and service user.


Veryan Richards

Veryan Richards

Veryan contributes, as a lay participant, towards shaping the policy narrative and improving patient experience in several areas of mental health care. She is particularly interested in the balance of evidence-based practice and values-based practice in person-centred care. She is an occasional conference speaker and author of articles.

Veryan is the co-author of the College Report 204 'Core Values for Psychiatrists' with Professor Keith Lloyd.

Veryan is an Individual Partner in the Collaborating Centre for Values-based Practice in Health and Social Care, St Catherine’s College, Oxford.

Veryan was on the Task and Finish Group developing the Supporting Guidance for Spiritual and Pastoral Care for the Health and Care Standards in Wales, 2015.

Veryan is a member of the RCPsych in London  - Patients and Carers Committee; the Curriculum and Assessment Committee; RCGP and RCPsych Primary Care Mental Health Expert Group; the RCPsych in Wales - Executive Committee; Recruitment and Retention Committee; the Language Working Group; RCGP and RCPsych Primary Care Mental Health Group and the Welsh Spirituality and Mental Health Special Interest Group.



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