A message from the chair: Dr Monique Schelhase


I wish to take this opportunity to introduce myself as the Chair of the Specialty Doctors’ and Associate Specialist Committee.

About me

I graduated from medical school at the University of Cape Town, South Africa in 1995. Since 2007 I have worked for Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT) at the Yorkshire Centre for Eating Disorders (YCED) in Leeds and have been an Associate Specialist in Eating Disorders since January 2009.

I'm the Lead Clinician for the YCED Community Treatment Service. My research interests include body image therapies and the psychological impact of enteral feeding regimes. Additionally I am the LYPFT SAS Tutor and a Medical Appraiser.

Why Specialty doctors matter

Specialty Doctors and Associate Specialists (SAS) make up approximately 20% of the workforce within the NHS alone. The latest Royal College of Psychiatrists Census (2015) indicated that 1671 Specialty Doctor and Associate Specialist posts were filled nationally.

Of this total 60.3%, 23.8% and 15.9% were substantive full time, part time and locum posts respectively. In addition, there were 193 vacant or unfilled posts within the NHS and private sector.

We're therefore a significant group of doctors yet our voice has not always been heard and we know that not all SAS doctors are currently Members or Affiliates of the College. This is something that I would like to see change during my five year term of office.

Increasingly Specialty doctors desire recognition of their significant clinical contributions and increasing autonomy, in line with their enhanced skills and expertise.

We, as a whole, need leaders who are passionate about improving grade recognition, driving career progression and ensuring that development opportunities are presented to Specialty Doctors, all of which are in keeping with the British Medical Association (BMA) SAS Charters.

I believe that the Royal College of Psychiatry Specialty Doctors’ Committee should assist the SAS Tutors within your organisations to lead and that your Committee should be your voice within the College.

Get in touch

So we're keen to hear from you, and your SAS Tutors, regarding your educational needs as well as current professional development issues or concerns that you may hold. Please feel free to come and seek me out at College events. I would like to hear from you in person or via email: specialtydoctors@rcpsych.ac.uk

As Chair I am committed to promoting and supporting SAS career development through new College initiatives and together with the Committee will actively strive to increase and maintain SAS College membership numbers.

My hope is to have an open dialogue with you and for the College to be recognised as a primary source of support for all SAS doctors working within Psychiatry. In keeping with this sentiment The Royal College of Psychiatry Specialty Doctors’ Committee meeting minutes will now be available for you to read on the SAS pages of the College website.

I am excited at the prospect of working with you all.

Dr Monique Schelhase, Chair

Get in contact to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry