Dear College Colleague, the election for President-Elect of our College began on Wednesday 24 February.  Voting finishes Friday 26 March 2021.  Please vote in this election. 

I would like to let you know why I am standing for election to this position.

Like you, I want to see our College doing its best to advance the profession of psychiatry, train the next generation of psychiatrists, and represent the interests of its members.  To do this the College needs to become a more open, welcoming, inclusive, transparent, and responsive organization.  Our College needs to be the ‘independent voice’ of the profession, unhindered by bureaucratic influences that mute its ability to speak out on behalf of its members.

The College training program is too narrow. I believe the College must broaden the training experience to include the full spectrum of psychiatric disorders, including high prevalence conditions, and deepen the training in psychotherapies, both manual-driven and explorative/dynamic-based.  Training in psychiatry needs to expand to include office-based private practice locations. 

The examination system needs attention.  The pass rate for the final Essay exam is trending too low and the whole examination system needs re-evaluation to determine if it is fit for purpose.  Examination places and opportunities need to be increased so that trainees who have completed the required training can quickly progress through the examination to Fellowship. The College should consider re-establishing the Observed Clinical Interview in the examination program if it can establish its acceptable validity and reliability.  The whole training program should be assessed to determine if the trainees are properly prepared to pass the examination and to successfully undertake consultant practice.

Our College must re-engage with its membership.  It should ask its members what it can do better for them through the psychiatrist lifecycle from the medical student years, through junior and senior trainees, junior public sector-based psychiatrists, and then established career psychiatrists in public, academic and private practice settings, right through to psychiatrists moving towards semi retirement. 

The College needs to survey academic psychiatrists to see how it can facilitate the next generation of academic psychiatrists, the College needs to engage with psychiatrists who have concerns about the sustainability of practice in the shadow of climate change, and the College needs to help indigenous psychiatrists succeed and flourish, as well as finding ways of supporting more colleagues to train and work in regional and rural and remote regions.  

Like you, I appreciate the value of continuing professional development.  But CPD activities must be shown to be relevant to the educational and skill needs of the individual psychiatrist in their particular practice setting.  CPD activities must be of value to the psychiatrist and should not be a bureaucratic exercise.  Our College needs to promote a flexible and evidence-based CPD program that accommodates psychiatrists working in private practice.   

I believe our College should stand up more for our integrity and expertise as its members and Fellows and the value we offer to the health and welfare of our communities.  The College should oppose the uncritical substitution of psychiatrists by other mental health professions.  The College must advocate keeping the helpful expanded access to Telehealth consultations during Covid-19 to remain subsidised by Medicare indefinitely. 

Our College should examine closely and stand up against the negative effects on private psychiatric practice and patient care, both in private hospital inpatient, day hospital and outpatient settings, arising from the push of private health insurers to introduce US-styled managed care in the delivery of private mental health services in Australia.

I hope that our College will improve the ease of accrediting qualified overseas-trained psychiatrists so they can be welcomed as colleagues.

If elected as President-Elect I intend to pursue these proposals. 

I believe I have the skills and energy to lead our College.  And I am keen to listen to members.

I have leadership experience in medical colleges and associations including Vice-President and Treasurer of the Pacific Rim College of Psychiatrists, President of the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association, President of the National Association of Practising Psychiatrists, and as Chair of the College CPD program committee when this program was known for providing a flexible approach to the learning needs and practice circumstances of individual psychiatrists.  I currently work in private practice.  I have held Director positions in the public sector, and Professorial positions at the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, and Bond University. See my CV below.

I hope you will support me.  Please pass on this email to other colleagues who may be interested.  

For more details about why I am standing please go to my Supporting Statement at the College website via the link below.

Yours sincerely,

Prof Philip Morris AM


MBBS (Hons) University NSW, BSc Med (Hons) University NSW, PhD Newcastle University

FRANZCP (Member Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age, Faculty of Forensic Psychiatry, Faculty of General Adult Psychiatry)

Fellow Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine (RACP)

Board Certified American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Current positions

Private psychiatric, psychogeriatric and medico-legal practice at Southport, Gold Coast, Queensland

President, National Association of Practising Psychiatrists

Distinguished Fellow and Treasurer, Pacific Rim College of Psychiatrists

President, Gold Coast Medical Association

Visiting Professor, Psychiatry, Bond University Medical School

Member, Repatriation Pharmaceutical Reference Committee

Previous positions

Chair, RANZCP Continuing Professional Development Committee

Professorial positions: University of Melbourne, University of Queensland

Founding Director, The Australian National Centre for War-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Vice President, Pacific Rim College of Psychiatrists

Medical Superintendent, Macquarie Psychiatric Hospital, North Ryde, NSW

Director of Mental Health, Gold Coast District Health Service

Secretary, NSW Branch RANZCP

Chair, Continuing Medical Education Committee NSW Branch RANZCP

Foundation President, Association of Psychiatric Registrars in Training NSW

Prof Philip Morris AM

Phone +61 (0)422545753