THE medical director at Cygnet Hospital Taunton has been appointed as a regional advisor to the prestigious Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Dr Dave Barker overseas psychiatric care at the 54-bed mental health hospital for men on Orchard Portman in Taunton.

He said: “This appointment is a true honour and a remarkable opportunity to not only contribute to the college’s activities, but to also forge links between the College and the Cygnet family.”

His role entails a number duties, chief amongst them will be the close collaboration with Postgraduate Deans and Heads of Schools of Psychiatry.

Additionally, he will act as the College representative on all matters relating to postgraduate education in psychiatry and continuing professional development.

Dr Barker will also be involved in quality assurance procedures and assist Training Programme Directors and supervisors to implement recommendations accordingly.

He will also provide advice to employers about job descriptions for new and replacement consultant, specialty doctor, and specialist psychiatrist posts.

He added: “Armed with this knowledge and connections, I will prioritise closer ties with Deaneries and Schools of Psychiatry to establish training posts within Cygnet and formalise our consultants as GMC Trainers.

“Working in the post will add legitimacy to my ongoing endeavours to foster close connections with universities for academia and research.

“I have been hugely supported by my South West colleagues and senior management within the wider region, so would like to send out a huge thanks to all.”

Cygnet’s Group clinical director, Jon Van Niekerk, is the chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists General Adult Faculty Executive Committee.

He passed on his personal congratulations to his Cygnet Health Care colleague.

He said: “This appointment is thoroughly deserved and I personally extend my congratulations to Dave.

“He is a first class doctor with excellent leadership skills and I have every confidence that he will influence and affect real change in mental health.

“His core values place service users at the very heart of the work they deliver and he is committed to ensuring care is of the very highest standards.

“He understands both the challenges and opportunities that exist within the sector and his drive, compassion, commitment, and dedication make him an excellent addition to our leadership team at the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

“Myself, and everyone at Cygnet, celebrates his appointment and wish him all the very best.”