Devon Partnership NHS Trust scooped two awards at the Royal College of Psychiatrists' annual presentation ceremony on Tuesday 8 November - including the prestigious Psychiatrist of the Year award.
Dr Peter Aitken, Director of Research and Development, was named as Psychiatrist of the Year 2016, from a shortlist of four nominees, and was presented with his award by Sophie Linden, London's Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime.
Peter is Chair of the Faculty of Liaison Psychiatry at the Royal College of Psychiatrists and has led the development of the liaison psychiatry service across Devon over the last few years. This vital service sees mental health professionals based at the county’s acute hospitals working closely alongside their physical healthcare colleagues to support people in hospital who have both mental and physical health needs.
Peter speaks regularly about a wide range of mental health issues and was among a panel of experts to give evidence to the Health Select Committee, last week, on the subject of suicide prevention. Peter is also a Medical Adviser with the Exmouth RNLI Lifeboat crew.
Commenting on his award, Peter said: “In reality, this award is not for me but for a fantastic team of colleagues who work tirelessly to improve the lives of people with serious mental health needs. I dedicate it to them and the people we support every day.
“Psychiatry is a tremendously rewarding profession but one which is struggling to recruit new blood in the westcountry, and indeed nationally. I hope that the award might go some small way to attracting young medical professionals into psychiatry and into considering a career here in Devon, where we do so much great work.”
Dr Karen Cocksedge, the Trust’s second winner of the evening, was named as the Core Psychiatric Trainee of the Year 2016 – an award for junior doctors. Karen, who is already a published astrophysicist, is based at Langdon Hospital in Dawlish. She currently works at the Dewnans Centre, which provides care and treatment for people with severe mental health needs who require a medium secure environment.
Karen did her Core Training in Cornwall Foundation Partnership NHS Trust before moving recently to Devon to take up a Specialty Doctor post.
Karen's award was presented by the Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Devon Partnership Trust Consultant Psychiatrist Kate Lovett.
Chief Executive of Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Melanie Walker, said: “To win two awards at such a prestigious event is a great achievement for our organisation and a wonderful advertisement for the quality of our mental health professionals here in Devon. I am proud to say that our teams are passionate about supporting people with mental health and learning disability needs and the awards provide a timely reminder of the wonderful work they do.”