The effect of a patient homicide on clinicians

Dr Jo O'Reilly, Dr Adrian James, Professor Gill Mezey, Professor Helen Killaspy, Ayesha Hussain, Dr Gwen Adshead, Dr Rachel Gibbons, Dr Phillipa Greenfiled, Dr Nisha Shah, Professor Helen Killaspy, Dr Mark Salter and Dr Rachel Gibbons,Dr Gwen Adshead, Dr

2 hours 15 minutes


October 2022



There is a growing body of evidence about the significant impact the homicide by a patient can have on clinicians. This impact can make open hearted clinical engagement with patients more difficult. There is little systemic recognition of the effect of this experience which can lead to a range of outcomes for individuals and organisations including: emotional distress, mental health problems, career change, early retirement, media interest and professional sanctions.

This conference was the first to focus on this issue and aims to raise awareness and develop appropriate responses to these kinds of traumatic events.

It is hoped it will contribute to a change in culture where instead of feeling isolated, clinicians can feel supported by a healthier and more compassionate mental health system. 

This was organised by the RCPsych’s Working Group on the Effect of Suicide and Homicide on Clinicians.

Welcome and introduction

Dr Jo O'Reilly introduces and outlines the purpose of the event. Dr Adrian James shares his experience and outlines the importance of discussing the impact of homicide on clinicians.

Homicide and its aftermath

Dr Gwen Adshead discusses the effects of homicide and its aftermath on psychiatrists.

What we have found out about homicide from running a suicide and homicide group for consultants

Members of the Working Group on the Effect of Suicide and Homicide on Clinicians discuss their personal experiences of a patient committing homicide.

Personal testimony and interview

Dr Mark Salter shares his personal experiences with Dr Rachel Gibbons.

Disenfranchised grief and trauma – round table/panel discussion

The panel discuss disenfranchised grief and the impact of grief on psychiatrists experiencing patient homicide.



Non-member fee £84.80
Consultant fee £63.60
SAS doctor/Higher trainee fee £47.70
Core trainee/Subsidised*/Retired/Medical student/Foundation doctor     £31.80



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