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Key roles secured for Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust clinicians

05 Jul 22

Three leading clinicians from Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT) have undertaken additional responsibilities at a national level in their respective areas of healthcare.

Consultant Psychiatrists, Dr Shaheen Shora and Dr Indermeet Sawhney have been elected to key posts within the Royal College of Psychiatrists while the Trust’s Executive Director of Quality and Medical Leadership, Dr Asif Zia, has taken on the leadership of the Mental Health Medical Director Forum for NHS Confederation’s networks.

Dr Shora, Clinical Director for the Mental Health Services for Older People, has become a member of the executive committee of the Old Age faculty.

Dr Shora, who has worked in the field of psychiatry as a Consultant for Older people for over 11 years, said: “I am delighted to be joining a vibrant and diverse faculty and would like to thank everyone who believed in me and supported me. I bring vast knowledge and learned experience to this role and aspire to advocate for older adults, carers, trainees and workforce.”

She is passionate about equality, partnership working with service users and collaboration with primary care colleagues, social services and the third sector. She has a Masters in Culture and Health and champions equal access and equal offer of services for all.

She said: “I fundamentally believe in inclusion, parity and equality and hope to make this a reality for services for older people. It is an honour for me to be representing HPFT at a national level.”

Dr Sawhney, who is also a clinical director and specialises in the psychiatry of intellectual disabilities, has been elected chair of the Faculty of Intellectual Disability, Royal College of Psychiatrists. She was first elected to the Faculty Executive Committee in 2018, also serving as Academic Secretary. She is currently the Deputy Regional Advisor for the Eastern Division. In the past she was the editor for the newsletter for the Eastern Division

Dr Sawhney has a Masters in Mental health Law (LLM) and has championed the human rights of people with an intellectual disability. 

She has led on projects , locally and nationally, most notably starting the first comprehensive physical health clinic model for people with an intellectual disability in her services. She also led on a project nationally which led to reasonable adjustments being embedded into Mental Health Tribunal hearings to improve experience for people with a learning disability. Dr Sawhney has also published widely on neurodevelopmental disorders, STOMP, the impact of COVID and bone health among other relevant clinical topics.

She said: “I am passionate about improving the experiences and outcomes for people with intellectual disabilities and this has led to a series of service development projects locally and nationally. I am humbled, privileged and honoured to take on this role and to champion the cause of people with intellectual disabilities at a national level. This is particularly special given that HPFT is the largest provider of learning disability services in the country.”

Dr Zia took on his role on as a member of the Mental Health Medical Director Network Board with the NHS Confederation on 1 July.

The Network ensures members’ voices are at the heart of national decision-making on healthcare, meeting with politicians, policymakers and opinion-formers to influence change, with a particular focus on influencing policy regarding legislation on mental health.

The NHS Confederation is the membership organisation that brings together, supports and speaks for the whole healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

At the Trust, Dr Zia is responsible for the clinical elements of the Trust’s quality management approach, as well as medicines management, research and development and medical appraisals and revalidation for doctors. He is also the professional head of HPFT’s medical staff and is responsible for medical teaching and training.

Dr Zia is a Council member of the NHS England East of England Clinical Senate, where he sits on independent clinical review panels. 

He said: “I am very much looking forward to joining the board and working with my fellow board members on helping to shape and influence the necessary improvements in mental healthcare and ensuring service users get the quality of care they need. I am delighted that the Trust will have a voice that will be heard at a national level.”

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