RCPsych Presidential awards

04Jul11

Last Thursday, 30 June, at the International Congress of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Brighton, two of my previous supervisors were honoured for their contributions to psychiatry by outgoing College President, Dr Dinesh Bhugra.

Presidential award

Dr Peter Hughes was my international supervisor while I was in Ghana and whom I’ve mentioned before on this blog. During that time, Peter was in Haiti providing post-earthquake support and was involved in helping to re-establish the country’s psychiatric services. He has since been involved in founding a Special Interest Group for volunteer and international psychiatry within the College. During the Congress, Peter spoke to a group of trainees about this Group, highlighting his previous work in Haiti, Malawi, Sudan and Somaliland, the latter he was returning to on Sunday. During that presentation I spoke briefly about the experience on being on placement in Ghana as an opportunity for future trainees. For his work as an international psychiatrist, Peter was awarded one of nine President’s Medals for 2011, an award initiated by the President last year to honour and celebrate those who have made significant contributions to improving the lives of people with mental illness.

Fellow recognition

Also recognised on the night was Dr Giuseppe Spoto who earlier in the year had been made a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Giuseppe has supervised me at both Senior House Officer and Specialist Registrar level in 2003 and 2010 respectively and over the past three months we were consultant peers in Crawley. On being awarded his Fellowship, his collegues at the Crawley Community Mental Health Team asked me to write a tribute for the Sussex Partnership newsletter. I was delighted to be asked and without his prior knowledge, the following words were published in May and which I’m pleased to reproduce here.

Dr Giuseppe Spoto, consultant psychiatrist in Crawley for 20 years, has been awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, as a mark of distinction and in recognition for his contributions to psychiatry.

Originally trained in his native Italy, Dr Spoto underwent further training in London at the Royal Free Hospital, Tavistock Centre and University College Hospital. In 1990 he was appointed to his first consultant post in Crawley, where he has remained a dedicated clinician to a generation of patients and an influential presence for local adult psychiatric services.

With his interest in education and training he has served as College Tutor for Crawley and as Educational Supervisor for the Arun Valley SHO Rotation, overseeing the training of numerous junior doctors and medical students in West Sussex. With his involvement in medical legal concerns, he has also been a medical member of Mental Health Review Tribunals for 15 years.

Throughout these times of change, his most consistent concern has been as an advocate for psychotherapy within psychiatry, particularly in regard to those who are seriously mentally ill. As Consultant Psychiatrist with a Special Responsibility for Psychotherapy, he has often been a lone voice in Sussex for considering psychoanalytic approaches towards psychiatry and continues to lead the Balint group for trainees in Crawley.

In addition, Giuseppe is a valued colleague and source of support to all the multi-disciplinary teams he has been a member of and a friend to many. For a lifetime’s work in psychiatry that shows no sign of easing, he is a deserving recipient of College recognition.

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