Dr Tony Rao
Dr Rao is a Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist working at North Southwark Community Mental Health Team for Older Adults and is also a visiting researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. He is the longest serving community consultant old age psychiatrist, having been in post for more than 15 years.
Dr Rao said: “Working exclusively in the community means seeing older people in their own homes at times of difficulty and great stress. By being able to work with older people in a setting with which they are most familiar, they can be offered the right interventions at the right time and continue to live independently for as long as possible.
“Appearing on the programme gave me the opportunity to portray a specialty that has never ceased to fuel my enthusiasm and dedication for the past 20 years. Old age psychiatry is probably the only specialty in medicine that combines such a wide range of skills that are woven into the rich tapestry everyday clinical practice. With the growing number of older people experiencing both dementia and other problems such as alcohol misuse, there will continue to be a demand for old age psychiatrists who have a passion for making a difference to the lives of older people.”
Professor Rob Howard is a Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist at Maudsley Hospital where he has worked since 1988 following an undergraduate education at Cambridge and St Bartholomew’s Hospital and a few years working in general medicine. His time is divided between his clinical work as a consultant and leading the academic work in mental health of older adults at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London.
Professor Howard said: “I wanted to take part in the programme because I wanted people to know more about the help that is available for older people with mental health problems and to understand that recovery is possible and that - with the right help - the outlook for our patients is very positive.”
He was also one of the first clinicians approached by Dan Charlton and Amy Flanagan about the documentary series and was very positive from the outset.
Professor Howard’s research interests include very-late-onset-psychosis in the over 60s and brain imaging in dementia and psychosis. He is also Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2008-13) and is the profession’s elected lead on training and professional standards. In recent years, psychiatry has not been a popular option for UK medical school graduates and Rob sees the changing of perceptions of undergraduate and foundation year trainees as a very important ambition for the Institute of Psychiatry and the profession as a whole.