Top psychiatrist and Chief Exec of RCPsych named in New Year Honours

Online news
31 December 2021

Today, Her Majesty the Queen announced the New Year Honours list and we are delighted that a leading Scottish psychiatrist and our own Chief Executive have been recognised for their important contributions.

Dr John Mitchell has been honoured with a CBE for improving mental health in Scotland. Following a month of retirement from his role as principal medical officer in the Scottish Government, Dr Mitchell returned full-time to help with the response to the pandemic appearing regularly with the First Minister and other Ministers in media broadcasts.
Paul Rees, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, has been honoured with an MBE for his services to mental health and equality, diversity and inclusion.

Appointed in 2016, he has transformed the delivery of activities and services. This has included the roll-out of a values-based approach to decision-making and organisational culture and the implementation of the College’s flagship Equality Action Plan, which was published in January.

The Equality Action Plan sets out 29 actions that show how the College will promote equality for College members and staff, mental health workers, and patients and carers. With a range of other pledged actions, the College is currently rolling out a total of over 400 actions on equality, diversity and inclusion and is committed to being a proactively anti-discrimination organisation.

This pioneering work has not gone unnoticed, with a number of other medical royal colleges having been inspired by RCPsych to take more robust action to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.

The College now carries out annual gender pay audits and has successfully reduced its gender pay gap to 6.2%, down from 17% in 2019. The College has also joined Stonewall's Diversity Champions scheme to improve and boost LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:

“I’m thrilled that John and Paul have been recognised in this way. Their honours are richly deserved. 

“John’s work has made a huge impact on our patients lives and the wider population in Scotland - ensuring people with mental illness get the best possible help and treatment available. 

“Paul’s leadership on equality, diversity and inclusion and the implementation of our values has been inspirational. He has successfully transformed the College and delivered real improvements for patients, members and staff.” 

Details of recipients 

Dr John Mitchell CBE: Consultant psychiatrist and medical manager in Glasgow for 21 years and principal medical officer in the Scottish Government for six years. Works as an adviser with the Scottish Government and World Health Organisation (WHO). This year, Dr Mitchell was awarded a President’s Medal from the Royal College of Psychiatrists in recognition of his career and work during the Covid-19 crisis. 

Paul Rees MBE: In 2019, the Royal College of Psychiatrists was named Charity of the Year in the European Diversity Awards and in 2020 won the award for Best Marketing Campaign in the Memcom UK membership sector awards for the successful Choose Psychiatry campaign, which has led to the highest fill rate for core psychiatric training places on record. 

In 2020 he personally won the Memcom Louis Armstrong Leadership Award. In 2021, the Royal College of Psychiatrists won the Highly Commended Award for Best Member Support during COVID-19 in the Memcom Excellence Awards. 


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