Dr David Shiers, Honorary Research Consultant at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, has received an OBE for services to vulnerable people.
Dr Shiers received his medal from HRH Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace on 10 February, where he was accompanied by his wife, daughters-in-law and his daughter Mary, whose experiences with mental health inspired much of his subsequent achievements.
Qualifying in medicine in 1974, and becoming a GP in 1981, David was greatly influenced by daughter Mary, who first became ill when just 15 years of age.
Mary received a diagnosis of schizophrenia. The inappropriateness of the care that she received in the mid-1990s deeply influenced David. Intent on radical reform of mental health services, he engaged with a small group of like-minded people in the West Midland to form the Initiative to Reduce the Impact of Schizophrenia group. David subsequently changed his career to work as part of the National Early Intervention in Psychosis Programme.
He also contributed to the Early Psychosis Declaration involving the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Early Psychosis Association.
More recently David has participated in developing National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines for the care of young people experiencing psychosis. David has particularly focused on improving the frequently poor physical health that people like his daughter may face including an international collaboration with Sydney colleague Dr Jackie Curtis, that resulted in the Healthy Active Lives project.
A born and bred Mancunian, David took an academic appointment as an Honorary Reader in Early Psychosis at Manchester University in 2015, 41 years after graduating there. This coincided with David joining the Psychosis Research Unit (PRU) of Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH).
A recent PRU highlight for David was to co-lead a GMMH Dragon’s Den initiative with service users and Early Intervention Practitioners to develop RIGHT FROM THE START, a practical resource to empower people experiencing early psychosis to begin conversations with their clinical team about their physical health from the onset of treatment. Launched 10 months ago, GMMH has already been approached to share the resource with several mental health trusts in England, has been rolled out in Sydney and soon the rest of New South Wales, and there is interest from parts of Canada and US.
Speaking about his award, Dr Shiers said: “Being nominated by my peers for this award is an honour I shall always treasure. I feel fortunate to be involved in work that I feel so passionate about, and am truly grateful to all my family, friends and colleagues for their support on this journey.”
Mary has recently moved to a more suitable residential home where she is thriving in a very caring environment and enjoying what she loves best – shopping and nights out.