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Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych Awards 2022) and Health Service Journal (HSJ Awards 2022)

07 Dec 22

Dr Inder Sawhney shortlisted and finalist for work with adults with Learning Disabilities


Dr Indermeet Sawhney, a Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director for Learning Disability Services at HPFT, holds a Masters in Mental health Law (LLM) and has championed the human rights of people with an intellectual disability throughout the entirety of her career. She has published widely in peer reviewed journals and has also showcased her work in several International and national conferences. Dr Sawhney is a member of the Midlands and East of England Mental Health Act approval panel and medical member of the Mental Health Tribunal services.

Through innovations led by Dr Sawhney, health outcomes for people with LD are being improved, transforming the quality of life for our service users and their families. She embeds co production in the heart of all her innovative work with input from experts by experience, families, and carers.

Innovative work Dr Sawhney has championed includes:

  • Amplifying the necessity for national policy change because there was a need for a new national standard for reasonable adjustments at Mental Health Tribunals, ensuring people with LD who are detained under the Mental Health Act are more involved in decisions about their liberty because given the tribunal hearing impacts on the basic human right of liberty it was felt it was pertinent that people with learning disabilities have a fair and just hearing by having reasonable adjustments introduced. The recommendations made by Dr Sawhney in this context have been accepted by HM Courts & Tribunals Service
  • Dr Sawhney led and developed the first national model of enhanced physical health checks. The model is unique as reasonable adjustments are factored in for individual needs with a focus on proactive preventative health screening and health facilitation and social prescribing are incorporated in the model.
  • She has also rolled out the innovative practise of remote monitoring of vital signs for patients with learning disabilities.
  • She has led on the development of Advance care planning, neurodevelopmental disorder, transition pathway in her services.


The impact of Dr Sawhney’s work on service users and on the delivery of service has not gone unnoticed. She was a finalist for the Clinical Leader of the Year at the HSJ Awards. One of her projects was  a finalist in the HSJ Patient Safety Awards and another, her new model of physical health clinics for Patients with Learning Disabilities (PwLD) which has improved outcomes for this vulnerable group was Highly Commended in the HSJ Awards. Work done with physical health checks was also Highly Commended in two categories at the Positive Practise in Mental Health Awards.

Dr Asif Zia, HPFT Executive Director of Quality and Medical Leadership, said: “Dr Sawhney embraces innovation and has led on pioneering new ways of working. Her work with Mental Health tribunals promotes equality for individuals with LD by strengthening their voice when facing formal legal hearings.”

Because her work has made a positive impact at a national and local level to patients and carers, has demonstrated innovation, and because she has made efforts towards achieving parity of esteem between mental and physical health led to peers nominating Dr Indermeet Sawhney, was nominated for Psychiatrist of the Year for this year’s prestigious Royal College of Psychiatrists awards. She was one of top three psychiatrists shortlisted for this prestigious award, in the country.

Dr Sawhney has served as the academic secretary for the Faculty of Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability Royal College of Psychiatrist. Earlier in the year she was elected as the Chair of the Faculty of Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability, Royal College of Psychiatrists, which is a testament of the faith placed in leadership and guidance by her peers who elected her to this national role. Through her engagement with this prestigious organisation that utilises every opportunity to promote and influence the mental health agenda, she has helped to raise the profile of a vulnerable population.

Dr Indermeet Sawhney, said: “The nominations and awards are an honour; however, what is most important to me is that this means that more people who work within health and care services are aware of the everyday challenges facing individuals who have Learning Disabilities. And, also, events like this continue to allow LD services to be a part of the conversation, which too often is not the case. Too frequently, LD services are ignored.”

Dr Sawhney’s passion to work with individuals who have Learning Disabilities is reflected through the work she’s performed throughout her career.

Work that has been necessary because despite a national drive to improve health outcomes for people with Learning Disabilities (LD), their health needs are often unrecognised and unmet, and they are also more likely to develop secondary health conditions.

If you’re passionate about working to address the profound health inequalities that exist for patients with learning disabilities, visit our careers page to learn more!


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