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

Specialty Doctors' Committee Members


The Specialty Doctors' Committee is made up of members from all regions of the UK. Any member who wishes to contact the Committee can do so via the Committee Manager Vivine Muckian.


Meet the Chair of the Specialty Doctors' Committee, Dr Monique SchelhaseDr Monique Schelhase

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

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 am 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.

Please feel free to come and seek me out at College events. I would like to hear from you in person or via email:


Co Vice Chair of the Specialty Doctors' Committee, Dr Lily Read

SAS Vice Chair Dr ReadI am a Speciality Doctor in Old Age Psychiatry at Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Additionally,  I am the SAS tutor for my Trust and a medical appraiser. 

After obtaining my medical degree from The University of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj, Romania, I gained a BA (Psychology) from Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj and MSc from Manchester University.  I was awarded a PhD from University of Leeds for my work in the neuropsychology of dementia . I have been involved in medical research for a number of years, securing substantial research funding as a principal investigator that lead to several publications. For 6 years I worked for the UK Government as a Medical Advisor, Research Manager and Head of Policy and have extensive experience of representing and negotiating with national and international organisations.

Since returning to NHS full time, I have been passionate about the SAS doctors group,  and have a particular interest in career development and progression, including CESR , credentialing and medical management and leadership , and the barriers encountered by our group with these processes .  I feel privileged to have been appointed RCPsych SAS Committee Vice chair  in 2016 and am determined to represent our group’s interests and listen and learn from you all. 

I am hoping to meet many of you in person at various college events or hear from you via email at

Co Vice Chair of the Specialty Doctors' Committee, Dr Kathryn Naylor

I was very pleased to be appointed joint vice chair of the committee. I have worked as an associate specialist in forensic psychiatry at Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust for over 13 years. I had previously been a staff grade having decided I no longer wanted the disruption of on-call and examinations. I have been fortunate to be able to develop my interests, including getting involved in research into the impact of shared reading on mental health and well-being. I have been involved in the Trust’s safe from suicide project.

I have been a SAS representative on BMA committees and was frequently a member of the optional/ discretionary points committees. I was a member of the forensic executive for several years. I was involved in the original and revised document, Aren’t we all in it together? I am an appraiser.

During my time as a SAS doctor, I have seen many changes to our contracts, the people taking up SAS posts and how SAS doctors are viewed. I hope we can begin to rebuild the SAS/Affiliate group and work together towards improving our lives and careers. I am keen to think about how we can work with the college and establish networks throughout the country.  

If you would like to contact me, please email:


Specialty Doctors' Committee Member, North West Division Representative, Dr Gopal Chinnari

I am Gopal Chinnari , currently working as a speciality doctor in adult services in Warrington. I am currently representing SAS doctors from North West Division and agreed to represent SAS doctors on the College's Policy and Public Affairs Committee (PPAC). I am honoured to represent SAS doctors in college committees.

Please get in touch with me with your concerns and views at  and I make sure to get your voice heard in the right forums.



Specialty Doctors' Committee Intellectual Disability Faculty Representative, Dr Christine Joiner

I am a Specialty Doctor for Adults with Intellectual Disability. I completed my medical training at Nottingham University in 1998, obtained a diploma in Clinical Psychiatry and then trained in psychiatry in both Nottingham and the West Midlands. I obtained MRCPsych in 2009 (the first batch of CASC!!) but have remained in my Specialty Doctor post as a career choice.

I have worked in posts across both the East and West Midlands providing care for both inpatients and community patients. With the closure of a lot of learning disability wards over the past few years, my work is now fully community based in Nuneaton.


I am privileged to work in a fantastic multidisciplinary team where I can pursue my clinical interests in autism, personality disorders in adults with ID and capacity assessments.

I have been the SAS representative on the ID Faculty executive committee for the past three years and have also been the SAS representative for our Trust BMA committee.

I am keen to help SAS doctors working in psychiatry to challenge some of the perceptions and stereotypes that have historically surrounded the grade. The reasons for taking up or staying in an SAS grade need to be valued. I have certainly appreciated the flexibility that the grade can provide in terms of balancing patient and colleague contact with the opportunities for career (including non clinical role) progression.


I have been building up a database and ‘virtual’ network group for all SAS psychiatrists working in ID across the country. If you are an SAS doctor in ID please email me your details via  


Specialty Doctors' Committee Northern Ireland Representative, Dr Elizabeth Dawson

I have acted as chair of the RCPsych in Northern Ireland SAS and Affiliates group since February 2016.  I have worked as a Specialty Doctor in psychiatry of old age in the Northern Health and Social Care trust for several years.  I am passionate about improving recognition of the contribution from SAS and affiliate grade doctors, particularly in terms of quality improvement and service development. I am also a strong advocate for improved career progression opportunities both within and outside the SAS grade.  Apart from work commitments, I enjoy time with my young family and enjoy running to keep the stress at bay!


Message from Eastern Division Representative, Dr Venkatesh Malipatil

It’s with great pleasure; I represent Eastern division on the Specialty Doctors and Associate Specialists’ (SAS) committee at the Royal College. I joined the committee in November 2016. In addition, I have offered to represent the committee on CPD advisory board and Trainee Support Group (TSG).

My clinical role involves working full-time in Old age psychiatry at Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust. This is a field of psychiatry I am passionate about and have been in this role for nearly five years. Apart from clinical work, I am quite interested in quality improvement (QI) and had the opportunity to be a QI Fellow at the Trust level. Other interests include reflective practice and mentoring. Recently, I have been appointed as the medical member on the Trust’s infection control and prevention committee.

Doctors in SAS grades have predominantly felt undervalued and lacking in recognition and status. There is a feeling we have been overlooked, particularly in terms of professional development. There has been a lack of consistency in how we have been offered develop opportunities and supported in our roles.

The profile of the SAS doctors at the regional and national level needs to raise. The specialty doctor’s committee is committed to this cause. We need to maximise the potential of our group. I was pleased to hear from the delegates at last year’s national conference of SAS doctors, the issues they felt needed further support by the committee. I along with my other committee members would be working hard to ensure that the issues are heard and solutions sought at the College level.

I would be keen to hear from you all any pertinent matters relating to our grade that you would like us to address. Please free to e-mail me at

Look forward to working with you all.


Full List of Current Specialty Doctors’ Committee Members




Dr Monique Schelhase

 2016  Chair
Dr Kathryn Taylor 2016

Co-Vice Chair

Dr Violeta Read 2016

Co-Vice Chair

Dr Ahmed Moton 2018

General Adult Faculty

Dr Atif Mahmud 2016 Forensic Faculty
Dr Christine Joiner 2014 Intellectual Disability Faculty
Dr Elizabeth Dawson 2016

RCPsych in Northern Ireland

Dr Gopal Chinnari


North West Division

Dr Iain Fergie


RCPsych in Scotland

Dr James McDermott 2018

Eating Disorders

Dr Nick Barnes 2018

Child and Adolescent Faculty

Dr Nidhi Gupta


West Midlands Division

Dr Rajashree Sarkar


Trent Division

Dr Renato Merolli


Northern and Yorkshire Division

Dr Shabita Jeevaratnam


Addictions Faculty

Dr Venkatesh Malipatil


Eastern Division




Current Vacancies




Academic Faculty


Peri-natal Faculty

Liaison Faculty


Rehab Faculty

Old Age Faculty


RCPsych in Wales

Neuro-psychiatry Faculty


South West Division


How to Apply

Here are the Specialty Doctors' Committee Representative Job Descriptions. Anyone wishing to join the Specialty Doctors' Committee should contact the committee secretary, Vivine Muckian at for further details.


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How to contact the Specialty Doctors' Committee

VIvine Muckian

Royal College of Psychiatrists

21 Prescot Street

London E1 8BB


Tel:  0203 701 2666