Lothian psychiatrist wins national award

Dr. Sharon Smith, a psychiatric trainee with NHS Lothian, has been named Advanced Psychiatric Trainee of the Year 2010 by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The annual RCPsych Awards mark the highest level of achievement within psychiatry, and are designed to recognise and reward excellent practice in the field of mental health.

Dr. Smith, based at St John’s Hospital in Livingston, was commended for her work as a scholar, researcher and innovator. On receiving her award she said:

 “I’m extremely pleased and honoured to have, firstly, been nominated for this award by Dr. Potts and colleagues at the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh and, secondly, overwhelmed to have been chosen ahead of such a talented list of nominees.”

Sharon’s route in to higher training in psychiatry has been less than typical. Having undertaken a PhD at Edinburgh University, a subsequent MSc in Psychiatry while working part-time to raise a young family.

 “It’s been a testing journey but one which has been extremely rewarding,” she added.

After almost a decade in post Dr. Smith has already achieved a great deal but it is her work with diabetes which brings the most satisfaction.

“It’s an area I’ve been particularly keen to develop. We set up a new service for the psychiatric management of people with diabetes and the results and feedback of the service have been excellent.

Sharon was presented with her award by Sir Neil Douglas, chairman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.

Competition for the RCPsych Awards was extremely tough, and the judging panels were overwhelmed by the quality of this year’s entrants. The judges said:

 “Dr. Smith was chosen as Advanced Trainee of the Year due to her amazing talents, particularly relating to research, innovation and leadership. She is well respected by her colleagues and has demonstrated admirable achievements.”

Dr. Charles Swainson, Medical Director, NHS Lothian said:

“This is a magnificent achievement for Sharon. She has demonstrated considerable talents well in excess of those normally evident from someone in her position.”