The consultant psychiatrist in mental health services is a registered medical practitioner, who has undergone approved training and acquired extensive experience to diagnosis and treat your mental health. This training encompasses five or six years as a medical undergraduate student, one intern year in general medicine, and at least 7 years in training posts in psychiatry (including a minimum of 3 years in higher specialist training in psychiatry).
For your treatment, consultant psychiatrists work with you within a team of other mental healthcare professionals while also providing clinical leadership of the mental health team. They understand the wider healthcare system which enables effective working with doctors and healthcare professionals from other specialties, particularly primary care.
Consultants have a thorough training in evidence-based medicine and critical appraisal of the research literature and apply a critical and reflexive lens in which to improve the quality of your mental health care and practice. They understand the scientific basis of psychiatry and have a detailed knowledge of the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Depending on your needs, they prescribe pharmacological treatment and support, recommend and in some cases manage the delivery of social interventions. They work in collaboration with nursing and allied health professionals to deliver recovery orientated care with you at its centre.
If you require hospital treatment, the consultant will manage your admission and discharge under the Mental Health Act and tackle medico-legal and ethical dilemmas while adhering to legal safeguards.
The consultant also has a fundamental role in the education of medical students and doctors in training, whether or not they are planning a career in psychiatry as well as making a contribution to the training of other mental health professionals.
The consultant psychiatrist has an important role as manager which includes planning, advocacy and managing human resources. They participate in the quality assurance and governance process of the mental health system.