Latest updates from the NDPSIG

Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry Special Interest Group

Read the latest updates from the SIG.

Dear All,

An end of year greeting from Bristol. I hope the festivities prove a useful break for you.

I am very aware that I have been remiss in not bringing you up to date with what is happening in our SIG. I plead that I have had some family issues and some other tasks within the college that have diverted me for a time. I am now back in the seat for a while.

We are now at the end of yet another year of the SIG  developing - we are now 6 years old and have 3,900 signed up with us - reflecting how much college members recognise the importance of neurodevelopmental conditions in our clinical practice. 

We seem to be established in the eyes of central college as a very active SIG - with Sam Tromans as academic secretary we have had two successful conferences this year with the October meeting held in person at Leicester - it was good to meet in person all the people I have been seeing on a screen for the last few years!  We hope next year to again have an online and a face-to-face meeting. 

The SIG have been absorbed with several areas this year: 

First has been the development of higher training in neurodevelopmental condtions.  As part of this the Exec has spent a lot of time on the development of an advanced autism course for psychiatrists, the National Autism Training Programme, which is being led by Karen Quinton who helped put the MRCPsych exams online. She hopes to have the e-learning element of the course online by the end of January.  We have learnt the hard way how much time it infact takes to create 40 hours of online material!

Linked to this has been the development of more general higher training in Neurodevelopmental conditions  -  we are starting discussions about developing credentials for NDP higher training. 

Alongside this, after discussions with the ID Faculty we have decided that at present there is little advantage to us merging as we are covering a greater range of areas of practice than does the ID Faculty.

Conor Davidson has been doing sterling work as the Autism Champion and the College has accepted that it needs to develop a position statement on Autism which should be out next year.  Our work in promoting a national Community of Practice for all clinicians working with Autistic patients has now paid off and is now holding regular meetings, funded by NHSE.

ADHD services have been in the news all year, with waiting lists reaching levels that are impossible to clear then in addition Panorama leading the media in questioning the diagnostic process in many clinics, and most recently the shortage of stimulant medication that may go on well into the next year. Ulrich Muller-Sedgwick who is on our exec. contributed to the national advice on medication that has just been released and it can be read here (scroll through the subpages for the official advice on what to do).

Having proved the worth of having an Autism Champion, the College has decided to appoint an ADHD champion.  We are at the final stages with the job description and hope to have it advertised in the next month or so. Keep an eye out for it!

Raja Mukherjee, our efficient finance officer, has also been leading the development of a College statement on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder - it has taken a lot of time and effort but we hope to have it out next year.

In addition our IT communications has not been good - not helped by my not being able to access my Chair’s email account for over a year, and relaxing in the belief that all the emails were being forwarded to my working account.  When I got in last month I discovered that many of the offers of help you made to me after my last letter had not been forwarded and seen by me.  So please do not see my lack of response to your welcome offers a year ago as me ignoring you!  As the offers are now so old I am reluctant to respond to them  but  ask afresh for offers. 

Sana Fatima has offered to get our IT communications into action again and we hope to start an X page and some regular blogs and newsletters as well as update the Webpage.  We are very keen for short articles, and items of news to feed into our services  as well as offers of help in the editorial team. Watch our webpage for news on how to get involved.

Finally, I regret to announce that, due to various issues, I have decided to step down as Chair a year early in summer 2024. I have enjoyed the role and found it very stimulating and rewarding but I need to retire from this area.  The post is now advertised on our webpage and I hope you will consider applying. Please see the advert on our webpage and do contact me on if you want to know any more about the post.

I wish you well for the Christmas Holidays and New Year celebrations. 

Dr Peter Carpenter
Chair of the RCPsych Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry Special Interest Group

December 2023

It is now a year since I became chair of the Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry SIG [NDPSIG] and it feels like a lot has happened!

We appear to be emerging from a COVID crisis, to face an exhausted health and social service with waiting lists for specialist ADHD and ASD clinics that are astronomical putting horrendous pressure on all teams and other staff dealing with specialist assessments.

What has amazed me is how far we have continued to work despite the pressures and have developed services and ourselves over this last year.

The task for me has been to ensure that all parts of the college, including all faculties include neurodevelopmental disorders in their considerations on clinical practice. For me the good news has been that the new Autism Champion, Conor Davidson, appointed by our President, has now got himself established and known in his role and is, I feel, producing change in the college. I must congratulate him for his work.

The ID faulty is starting meetings with the NDPSIG to explore how we work together on neurodevelopmental disorders given the faculty deals exclusively with those with neurodevelopmental disorders who have intellectual disability.  We hope to have an agreement sorted by Spring and may have a joint meeting then. However due to external pressures we have had to cancel our conference due this 24th October.

There is now an ID training run through training scheme where ID training is selected during  core training applications. The ID CCST cannot be changed at present but those embarking on this are likely to want experience in non-ID neurodevelopmental disorders and local offers of such experience are likely to fall on fertile soil.

I am keen to support the development of skills in neurodevelopmental psychiatry in all  clinicians. The new mandatory Oliver McGowan training in autism is being rolled out.  As part of this we are encouraging the College to support the development of training tailored specifically for Psychiatrists. In addition the NHSE with HEE are supporting the development of a national community of practice for Specialist Autism Teams, probably similar to that now occurring in Wales.  I was delighted that the SIG was able to join with the Wales Autism Community of Practice on 7 April for a highly successful joint educational meeting. I hope we have more opportunities for such joint meetings with other groups.

Within the College the CCQI are looking at how to set quality standards for specialist autism services.  

We are trying to ensure that that experts by experience are able to comment on some of the College work.  The College equality network includes neurodevelopmental disorders in its work, as will the programme on restrictive practices. CASC is developing a training programme around NDD  In addition we have tried to become involved in some of the college policy work such as that on eating disorders.

Outside of our College we are supporting the development of a Neurodevelopmental Disorders network within the Royal College of General Practitioners.  We hope that this network blossoms as General Practitioner support of neurodevelopmental disorders (such as by prescribing for ADHD) is so important for the operation of any psychiatric service.

All of this has relied on the enthusiasm of committee members and taken a lot of energy for which I must thank all those who have agreed to be committee members.  I am missing the valuable input of psychiatric trainees into our groups, since our last member became a consultant. I am particularly keen to get more trainees involved with our academic committee.

I would be delighted to hear from any trainees, specialty doctors or consultants who are interested in supporting the work of the SIG.  If interested please contact me at

Dr Peter Carpenter

Chair of the RCPsych Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry Special Interest Group

October 2022

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