Dr Saif Bangash, a consultant psychiatrist working in Yorkshire, has received a top prize from Royal College of Psychiatrists for his essay on ‘How the Covid-19 Pandemic has taught me to be a better psychiatrist.’

He recently appeared on a webinar panel with mental health advocate, actor and TV personality, Stephen Fry and former Labour spokesperson and mental health champion Alistair Campbell on March 11th.

Dr Bangash was one of four winners speaking on the panel with Stephen Fry and Alistair Campbell who actually judged the entries alongside Dr Navina Evans, also a consultant psychiatrist and Chief Executive of Health Education England.

When awarding Dr Bangash’s prize Dr Evan’s commented: “I was struck by Saif’s humility and humanity, and the personal account of vulnerability by someone who had just been appointed consultant.”

She also noted that the essay recalled her own experience as a young and new consultant, adding: “It is a really wonderful connection with how the pandemic shaped the consultant’s life – filled with humility and hope.”

The pandemic has given NHS workers a new kind of common ground with their patients

Having joined the Trust in 2010, Dr Bangash works in the perinatal service of the Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust which provides care and services across the North.

In a year of horror stories from within the NHS of workers being pushed to their limit in covid wards, Dr Bangash’s story is a reminder that some people have been able to find light in the dark.

As a fairly new consultant (since October 2020), Dr Bangash has entered his current position at a strange and uncommon time but manages to use that to find common ground with his patients, he said: “It’s been a very hard year for so many people – we share that with our patients. But equally there have been a lot of positives with the negatives. The essay came at a good time when I could take stock” He concluded, “Maybe putting things down helped me put them in perspective and it was certainly therapeutic.”