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Personal profile

Research interests

Paul is a psychiatric epidemiologist whose research focuses on the epidemiology and treatment of personality disorders (PD) and self-harming behaviour.  

Personality disorder affects 4% of UK adults and the treatment of people diagnosed with PD remains one of the most challenging areas in psychiatry. Paul’s research has highlighted the public health and economic burden associated with personality disorder and, by impacting on national guidelines, has helped to stimulate service development in a highly neglected clinical area. Alongside his epidemiological research, Paul also has an interest in health services research.  

Self-harm.  Approximately 10% of young people report engaging in self-harm.  It is the strongest clinical predictor of death by suicide and the behaviour causes a great deal of concern to individuals and their friends and family. With Professor George Patton's team at the University of Melbourne and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Paul led the first rigorous study of the natural history of self-harm from adolescence to adulthood:


Ongoing analyses from the Victorian cohort are exploring the links between adolescent behaviour and health and social adjustment in adulthood.



  • observational studies
  • randomized controlled trials
  • health services research


Paul studied medicine at Barts Hospital Medical College in London.  He rapidly developed an interest in psychological medicine as a medical undergraduate, taking time out from his medical studies in order to take an intercalated BSc in Psychology & Medicine at UCL. He was later awarded the Strauss Prize in Psychological Medicine. After completing his house jobs at Barts and the Homerton Hospitals, he completed training in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital in SE London.  With funding support from the Department of Health, he took a masters in epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (distinction) before completing an MD.  His thesis described the first rigorous study of personality disorder in primary care.  The Department of Health subsequently awarded him a postdoctoral fellowship, resulting in a series of high impact outputs, including the development of a rapid screening test for personality disorder (the Standardised Assessment of Personality Abbreviated Scale; SAPAS). On the basis of its ease of administration, good psychometric properties and clinical utility, the SAPAS has had a significant impact on practitioners and services. 

Clinical experience

Between 2004-2012, Paul led SLAM’s national in-patient service for people who recurrently self-harm. The service pioneered harm reduction for the management of self-harm. From 2013-2015, he was the sessional consultant psychiatrist to London South Bank University and he retains an interest in student mental health.  Currently, he works as an honorary consultant psychiatrist with the Liaison Psychiatry team at Bristol Royal Infirmary where his clinical activity includes developing and testing new interventions for people presenting with repeat self-harm.  

Expert advisory roles

Paul has advised the Department of Health and NHS organizations on the management of personality disorders.  He was a member of the NICE Guidelines Development Group on the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (2009) and was an expert member of NICE's Quality Standards Advisory Committee (QSAC) on Personality Disorders (2015). 



  • psychiatric epidemiology
  • personality disorder
  • self harm


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