I moved to Australia in 2004 soon after leaving my uniform behind, and started working as the Regional Psychiatrist based at Whyalla, SA. The rural SA experience was truly a heart-warming experience for me, and has increased my attraction towards Rural and Remote Mental Health Service delivery and Telehealth. I then moved to Toowoomba in 2006, and worked in various capacities with the Acute Mental Health Unit. I completed the Fellowship of RANZCP in 2006. Between 2008-09, I worked as the Acting Clinical Director, before taking up the role of Clinical Director of ACT, PA Hospital at Brisbane in 2009. I then shifted to SA as the Dy Director of Country Health in 2010. This was to attempt to complete a dream of developing a service delivery model for country SA based on my initial experience at Whyalla. This was a challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed. I had the unique opportunity to work with my ex-supervisor, Dr Ken Fielke (who was the Director of Country Health SA at that time), a man who has shaped a lot of my systemic thinking and is one of the main reasons I stayed in Australia. Subsequently, I returned back to Brisbane and commenced full time private practice at my current location in Brisbane since 2011. I enjoy this work, although my passion truly lies in the areas of research, service development and medical teaching.
My interests are mainly in Mood Disorders, Anxiety Spectrum disorders, Neuropsychological disorders (Adult ADHD and Autistic Spectrum disorders, ECT and Neuromodulation) and Functional Neurological Disorders. I have been involved in managing chronic mental health issues in the public sector, and remain passionate to try and improve the knowledge base around ‘Treatment Resistance’, which I personally believe is a form of ‘Resistance to Treat’, and warrants some thought from my peers and colleagues.
I have also had significant interests in Military Psychiatry, as that is what I was also trained in at the start, and practiced for a few years before coming over to Australia. Every time I see a man in uniform in my clinic, or wandering in the labyrinths of the out-patient sector of the hospital, I feel nostalgic. I did enjoy my time treating military personnel, and also being involved in managing military hospitals. I do wish to be more involved locally in this area.
My tryst with administration in psychiatry in Australia as clinical leads of services and teams, including the statewide role with Country Health SA, also had its moments of excitement for me. Leadership and understanding organisational behavior to initiate change grabbed my interest for a while, until I found that the mainstream psychiatric service delivery has been falling prey to economic dominance and budgetary integrity related issues. Politics and psychiatry are strange bed-fellows, as it is essentially the grey area of science that needs more financial support, rather than the area well mapped out. That is not necessarily how politicians see this. But I must accept that these experiences did help in many ways to develop myself as a Systemic Psychiatrist. I have managed to shape my current private practice around the ‘patient-journey’ model, including focusing on exploring alternative methods to service my patients in a better way. Having complete clinical and budgetary governance on my practice has made things easier for me to manage.
Adult ADHD is not a very well canvassed area, and this is always been an area of special focus for me and my current practice. I have learnt a lot from my supervisors and colleagues in managing this disorder. I am especially thankful to my supervisors/peers in SA for their initial support for me to be able to comfortably manage this illness and bring smiles back to some of my patients who have struggled to get their life back on track without previous support and medications. I believe in psycho-education and motivational interviewing, with aspects of life-skill coaching to enhance patient journey for the adults who come in to my practice. I feel that we need to do more in this area, with more advocacy from RANZCP.