Two Forensicare psychiatrists honoured by Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists

Doug Bell and Sam Pang recognised by RANZCP with awards for forensic psychiatry

Two Forensicare psychiatrists honoured by Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists

Forensicare’s Dr Douglas Bell and Dr Sam Pang have been honoured by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) with the Ian Simpson Award and the Medlicott Award.

Recognising Dr Douglas Bell

A Consultant Psychiatrist at Melbourne Assessment Prison, Dr Douglas Bell will be awarded the Ian Simpson Award, which acknowledges the most outstanding contributions to clinical psychiatry as assessed through service to patients, and to the community.

“It’s a great honour to be selected by my peers in the College,” Doug said.

“Behind an award such as this one is a history of countless rich collaborations with great colleagues, patients and their families, and the support of a loving family and friends. My contributions over the years could not have occurred without these collaborations.”

“For me, at the heart of it all, has been the belief that our patients should treated with the same decency and respect that we ourselves receive, and that justice for our patients, who are amongst the most marginalised in our community, means access to high-quality mental health care and treatment–regardless of who they are, or what they have done.”

“It has been a great privilege to have had the opportunity to work for so long in a service like Forensicare that has those same shared values.”

Doug’s work with Forensicare

Doug has worked with Forensicare for more than 20 years, and has held roles as the Assistant Clinical Director for both Thomas Embling Hospital, as well as our prison services.

“Doug is well-known for his clinical focus and his strong advocacy for high standards of care for very vulnerable and stigmatised people,” Executive Director of Clinical Services Dr Danny Sullivan said.

“The Ian Simpson Award is a fitting recognition for Doug, who has made a big difference to many patients, inspired countless other psychiatrists, and helped to develop high-quality services.”

Recognising Dr Sam Pang

Dr Sam Pang, a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Melbourne Assessment Prison and Tambo Program at the Ravenhall Correctional Centre, has been awarded the Medlicott Award, which recognises meritorious research in forensic psychiatry by an advanced trainee or recent graduate.

“I feel pretty honoured to have won the Medlicott Award,” Sam said.

“It’s the only RANZCP award that is specific to forensic psychiatrists, so it was absolutely a nice surprise.”

Sam’s work with Forensicare

Sam began working with Forensicare in 2017 as an Advanced Trainee in Forensic Psychiatry, before undertaking his current role as a Consultant Psychiatrist.

“I completed my advanced training with Forensicare, and ever since then, I’ve continued to be inspired by Forensicare’s drive to be the cutting edge of modern psychiatry.”

The Medlicott Award recognised his 2019 paper “Criminalising Health Care? The Use of Offences in the Mental Health Act 2015 (ACT)”, which was published in the Journal of Law and Medicine. The article explores laws that use criminal penalties against mental health clinicians–mainly doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators. These laws exist internationally and throughout Australia, but most notably in the ACT, which Sam’s article focused on.

“My article argues that penalties for administrative errors for the first option (immediate hospitalisation) has been used to discourage clinicians, in order to encourage the use of the second option (community assessment).”

“Whilst this is deemed good for patient liberties, it ultimately leads to ‘defensive practice’ by clinicians. That is, being overcautious or being avoidant, which we know harms patients.”

“I argued there are other penalties for minor issues, some of which have the potential to incarcerate clinicians or administrators for up to 12 months. An example of this is not returning an ID tag after ceasing to be a clinician makes you liable for a fine. Even in the ACT, these offences are minimally discussed. So I had hope the article would serve as a conversation starter.”

The article also speaks about the evolution of mental health law to increasingly focus on empowering patients for improved autonomy and in turn, recovery.

A fitting honour by RANZCP

“These are great honours,” Danny Sullivan summarised.

“These awards recognise the significant achievements of two of our consultant psychiatrists. I am delighted for them both, and thank them for their contributions to Forensicare, and the field of forensic psychiatry.”

Congratulations, Sam and Doug!

Interested in a career in forensic psychiatry? Check out our Work With Us page for the latest career opportunities with Forensicare.

Share this post