I am a consultant in child and adolescent psychiatry, and an Associate Clinical Director with the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.
I qualified in medicine at the University of Edinburgh in 1983. I undertook four years of postgraduate training in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital in South London, and then undertook a further four years of postgraduate training in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Tavistock Clinic in North London.
I became a consultant in 1997, and worked for seven years for Hertfordshire Partnership Trust as the consultant child psychiatrist in Hemel Hempstead Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service before moving to the Tavistock Clinic in 2004.
Some people think that if they see a psychiatrist, it means that they must be mad, or that they will be stigmatised in some way. I understand that people have these fears, but I do not pre judge a situation. Often families want to check out their worries with someone like me, and are actually reassured once they have.
The Tavistock Clinic (now known as the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust) in Camden, London has a national and international reputation as a centre of excellence for therapeutic services across the lifespan, and for providing a wide range of clinical training.
In 2004 I joined the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Directorate. My first role was as consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist in the Camden Multi Agency Liaison Team. This team is based in Kentish Town, London, and works very closely with Camden Social Services to provide services to children and families where there are child protection concerns, or where children are looked after in foster care by Camden Council. After a year I became the director of that team.
Two years ago I shifted my clinical work to the North Camden Community Team, which is based at the Tavistock Clinic, and alongside this took up the role of Associate Clinical Director within the organisation. In this role I am responsible for the day to day running of all the Camden Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services provided by the Tavistock.
I am proud to be a "generalist" within the specialist field of child and adolescent psychiatry. This means I am competent to assess and treat the the full range of mental health difficulties that can occur from birth to the age of 18. This includes common emotional, behavioural and family difficulties that affect a large proportion of individuals at some stage; also more serious problems that occur less often, such as depression, anxiety difficulties; as well as rarer difficulties such as psychosis. I take a broad view that includes the influence of genentic and developmental factors as well as environmental influences.
Like almost all child and adolescent psychiatrists, I work very closely with colleagues from related fields such as psychology, child psychotherapy, family therapy, nursing and social work. We work together in a clinical team. This adds greatly to the quality of service families receive because a range of skills and perspectives are available to help with the presenting difficulty.
I have given independent expert evidence to the courts in child care cases, mainly for Camden children but also for children from Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. This is demanding work, but can make a real positive different to the course of a child's life.