General description of the work Consultant Psychiatrists undertake

Consultant Psychiatrists deal with mental illness and mental ill–health. The illnesses that they deal with include depression, schizophrenia, substance abuse (alcohol, drugs), post–traumatic stress, obsessive–compulsive behaviour and manic depression.

Consultant Psychiatrists often have particular areas on interest such as:

  • Old Age Psychiatry – dealing with dementia, cognitive dysfunction and Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Learning Disability – dealing with mental health problems associated with learning disabilities
  • Forensic Psychiatry – dealing with mental health issues related to crime, prison and court procedures
  • Child Psychiatry – dealing with mental health problems in children
  • Substance Abuse – dealing with addiction problems including drugs and alcohol

Most common clinical areas / procedures leading to a claim of clinical negligence

  • monitoring of patients in the community
  • discharge and monitoring of patients who later commit suicide
  • problems related to side effects of psychiatric medication

Sub–Specialities / Alternative and Additional job titles

If the Consultant Psychiatrist specialises in a particular area of psychiatry he/she may be known by that sub–speciality e.g. Consultant Child Psychiatrist, Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry (also known as a Consultant Psychogeriatrician), Consultant in Psychiatry and Substance Abuse, Consultant in Psychiatry and Learning Difficulties.

Usual Qualifications

The Consultant Psychiatrist will have MRCPsych or FRCPsych (Member or Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Psychiatrists) after his/her name.

Academic Appointments

The Consultant Psychiatrist may be a Lecturer or Professor in Psychiatry at a Medical School. He/She may be an Examiner for the Royal College of Psychiatrists.