Professor Rohit Shankar

Professor Rohit Shankar

Professor of Neuropsychiatry

Peninsula Medical School (Faculty of Health)



Rohit is a professor in Neuropsychiatry with University of Plymouth Medical School and director of its Cornwall Intellectual Disability Equitable Research (CIDER) unit Awarded an MBE (2018) for services to the learning disability community he has national/international awards including the BMJ awards for mental health (2020), Education (2019) Neurology (2016), Innovation (highly commended-2017), ILAE Epileptic Disorders best paper (2017) and Epilepsy Foundation America SUDEP Challenge (2016). He has over 200 index-linked publications/ book-chapters and led/contributed to various national reports. Publications are on  

He is a Consultant in developmental Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Director at Cornwall Partnership NHS FT, Associate Professor (Hon.) at University of Exeter Medical School, Hon. Fellow Falmouth University (2019 –current)and chair of the SW RCPsych division. His interests are in co-producing translational clinical research in neurodevelopmental/neuropsychiatric disorders, clinical risk management, and use of implementation science for health technology.




Professional membership

Royal College of Psychiatrists

Royal Society of Medicine 

British Medical Association 

British Neuro-psychiatric association

International League against Epilepsy 

Roles on external bodies

Current positions and ongoing contributions of influence:

Consultant in Adult Developmental Neuropsychiatry – Cornwall Partnership Foundation NHS Trust (2009 – current)

Professor in Neuropsychiatry (Tenured) – Peninsula Medical School University of Plymouth (2021 - onwards)

Chair – RCPsych South West Division (2020 – current)

Deputy Chair – RCPsych Intellectual Disability faculty (2022-current)

Deputy Research and governance Director – CFT (2010 – current)

Project management expert - UK Epilepsy Deaths Register – SUDEP Action (2013 –current)

Hon. Clinical Associate Professor – Exeter Medical School (2013 - current)

Clinical Director – ID services CFT (2016- current)

Hon. Fellow Falmouth University (2019 –current)

Council – Royal Society of Medicine (ID division) (2020 –current)

RCPsych international HONOS-LD update committee (2020 – current)

ILAE Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Task Force (2021- current)

James Lindt Epilepsy Research UK - Priority Setting Partnership project (2021 – current)

Cochrane review for pharmaceutical treatments in people with ID – chair (2021- current)

Editorial board member - British Journal of Psychiatry Open

Previous positions & experience:

NICE committee for update on Epilepsy guidance (2019 -20), RCPsych expert cannabis reference committee (2019-20), Advisory committee National Confidential Enquiry into epilepsy Death (2020-22). Academic Secretary, RCPsych ID faculty (2018-20),Senior Clinical Lecturer-Exeter Medical School (2017-20), LD expert NHS RightCare Epilepsy Toolkit development group (2018-19), RCPsych Neuroscience implementation executive (2016-19),ILAE UK Working group for ID & Epilepsy (2016-17)Health Service Research Board member– NIHR (R&D initiative) (2012-16),Training Programme Director for LD – SW Deanery (2010-13).



Research interests

Relevant Career Achievements and evidence of impact:

He has over 80 index referenced papers in the last three years (2019-2022) and in the last 5 year period 138 (career total: 197- with over 90% being first, last and/or corresponding author), including 8 book chapters. He chaired 3 Royal College of Psychiatrists College Reports CR203, 206 & 226 and Step Together – national report on integrating care for people with LD and epilepsy - Named contribution to NICE epilepsy, NHS England & NHS RightCare epilepsy strategy reports. All publications listed in ORCID -, &

Working with experts by experience Rohit has significantly contributed to improving lives of PwID/autism and reducing deaths. In Cornwall UK the service he helped set up for epilepsy and ID resulted in over 50% reduction in polypharmacy, ED admissions, rescue medication administration and 100% risk awareness. There has been a national recognition of the service model and adoption to good practice guidance by NHS RightCare, Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) and International League against Epilepsy (ILAE) and won the RCPsych best team for ID award 2021. He also chaired the Royal College of Psychiatrists College Reports 203 and 206 and have been the ID expert to national reports including NICE epilepsy 2022. He co-ordinated the production of Step Together (2020), the first report of its kind inter/nationally acclaimed and focused on improving epilepsy care in people with ID as a joint venture between the Royal Society of medicine, RCPsych, ILAE, National professional LD senate, NHS England. This was selected to be part of the international seminar series to address Learning Objective 6.1.4 of the International League against Epilepsy Curriculum. The Step Together toolkit which he led development is now being implemented in different Integrated Care Systems via NHSE and Epilepsy Action.

The Seizure Safety Checklist project he lead started in 2010 and is now used by clinicians inter/nationally and is available as a self- empowerment mobile application (EpSMon) and is available to over 50% GP practices via SystemOne/Emis patient record systems. A Cochrane (CD011792) and NIHR technology review single out EpSMon. A paper on SUDEP risk was awarded the ILAE epileptic disorders best paper award (2018). A study of his led to evidence for NICE epilepsy guidelines 2022 to make make recommendations 10.1.5 and 10.2.1 in identifying and mitigating SUDEP risk factors. NHS England have funded a project to make EpSMon digitally accessible for PwID. The project has won two BMJ awards for neurology 2016 and education 2019. Similarly, the developed epilepsy training he led on is world reputed and led to the national guidance on safe rescue medication prescribing for epilepsy.

· As chair for the RCPsych College report 226 in 2020 he delivered the report and guidance for improving access for to mental health services for PwID.

· The paper Overprescribing/polypharmacy has been recognised to be a significant UK wide problem in PwID. Our recent British Journal of Psychiatry publication highlighting the excessive use of antidepressants in England for PwID was selected as the article of the month for RCPsych for August 2022 .

·   An evidence-based systemic approach led by him to de-prescribing is being adopted nationally and internationally and includes an e-register to improve prescribing/rationalising polypharmacy as an output of previous Cornwall STOMP QI initiatives was set up. There has been development of formulation tools for complex care which was presented at the RCPsych international Congress 2022.

·   These initiatives were modified to provide safety for PwID particularly those with epilepsy during the 2020 -22 pandemic. This contributed to our winning the RCPsych psychiatry team of the year for ID.

·   Along with a colleague he initiated, implemented and co-ordinate a monthly mental health phone in with BBC radio Cornwall from 2010. The average reach is 300,000 people. It has run continuously for over 10 years, delivered 150+ episodes. The significant impact on local community is evidenced - It won the BMJ award for mental health 2020.


Grants & contracts

Successful grants for research, innovation and educational activities (2019-2022) as CI/co-applicant

• 2014-24- £393,489/- UK Ep-ID Register (NIHR adopted) – Chief Investigator (CI)
• 2022-23 - £98,405/- SBRI Healthcare Competition 20 Phase 1 – co-applicant/medical lead
• 2022-23 - £89,978/- Baily Thomas Charitable Fund – Anticholinergic burden in older PwID and epilepsy - CI
• 2022-23 -£307,423/- Neuropsychiatric Research Register for PwID and Epilepsy -CI
• 2022-25 - £1,250,000/- EPSRC Network+: Neurotechnology for enabling community-based diagnosis and care Co-Applicant/medical lead
• 2022 -25 - £2,800,000/- NHIR AI grant - DECODE: mapping the challenges and requirements for Data-driven, machinE learning aided stratification and management of multiple long-term COnditions in adults with intellectual DisabilitiE – co-applicant/mentor
• 2022 -23 £43,000/- Angelini grant – co-production of neuropsychiatric register – CI
• 2022-25 - £913,894/- ESRC – humanising Healthcare in People with ID – co-applicant/medical lead
• 2018-25 - £167,000/- LivaNova: factors influencing PWE attendance to ED – NHIR adopted – CI
• 2021 - £30,000/ - NHS England (SW) rapid review for inpatient commissioning for ID -CI
• 2021- £56,000/- Peninsula CRN integrating research into social care for PwID- CI
• 2021 – £50,000/- NHS England: testbed work to modify EpSMon for PwID -CI
• 2021 - £18,000/- NIHR: Brain in Hand - CI
• 2021 - £10,000/- Peninsula CRN – study into equality in research – CI
• 2021 - £25,000/- NHS England: CPRD analysis of autism premature mortality - CI
• 2020 - £150,000/- ERUK: SUDEP & Seizure Checklist pilot - co-applicant
• 2020 – £764,000/- SBRI phase 2: “Brain in Hand” – NIHR Adopted -CI
• 2020 – £865,000/- NIHR AI: Bio-Ep: mathematical marker for seizure diagnosis – co-applicant/clinical lead
• 2020 - £22,153/- Captain Tom Charity: COVID risk stratification in people with ID - CI
• 2020 - £85,000/- GW Pharma: extension of UK Ep-ID Register to 2-18 years - CI
• 2019 –£151,199/- NIHR RfPB: Person centred risk communications - what works best for people with epilepsy and their clinicians - Co- applicant/medical lead
• 2019 - £20,000/- Health Education England: Stress wellbeing app for junior doctors - CI

Other grants pre-2019

 January 2019 - £20,000/- Health Education England – Stress wellbeing app for junior doctors

October 2018 - £5,000/- Feasibility grant from EPIC to develop a game for neurotic conditions

February 2018 - £45,000/- NHS England - factors influencing admission of people with ID

September 2018 - £344,138 – Innovate UK (co-applicant) BioEP: Proof of Concept

October 2017 - £101,000/- LivaNova to develop study looking at ED admission factors

September 2017 - £12,000/- Eisai study perception of challenging behaviour and mental health among different groups of epilepsy professionals

May 2017 – £20,000/- for PIXIE study – University of Exeter Medical School

March 2016 - £20,200/- Bilal to look at neuropsychiatric impact of Eslicarbazepine

February 2016 - $30,000/- (co-applicant) SUDEP Challenge Epilepsy Foundation America

August 2014/15 - £9000/- (Co-applicant) Peninsula Deanery improved teaching techniques



Other academic activities

I am the lead for the SUDEP and Seizure Safety Checklist ( (2010 to present) to assess record and communicate SUDEP risk. The tool is used by epilepsy clinicians across UK and internationally ( It is converted to a self-empowerment mobile application – EpSMon ( Both tools have been evaluated across health & research communities. They have won the ILAE UK expert led poster 2015, patient safety awards 2016, Health Business Awards 2016, British Medical Journal awards 2016 (Neurology), 2017 * (Innovation) 2019 (Education) and US SUDEP Challenge award 2016 winner(83 applicants/25 countries). It is 1/7 projects selected by NHS England for the National Innovation accelerator programme 2017. A Cochrane review (2016 -CD011792) on SUDEP prevention singles out EpSMon. The RCGP has recommended EpSMon to all 70,000 GP practices through e-module training (2016)for epilepsy management & the BMJ commissioned a CPD module. Both Checklist & EpSMon are part of national epilepsy commissioning ( and NHS RightCare toolkits. A recent NIHR review of emerging epilepsy technology has given the highest rating for EpSMon (page61). Key recent publications of 15 –

I initiated, implemented and co-ordinate a monthly mental health phone in with BBC radio Cornwall (2010). It has run continuously for 9 years, delivered 105 episodes. The significant impact on local community is evidenced -
Overprescribing/polypharmacy has been recognised to be a significant UK wide problem in people with DD ( An evidence based systemic approach led by me to de-prescribing is being adopted nationally and internationally. Evidence of successes and challenges –

Do not flush your life away a public health campaign to reduce male suicides - care/public-health-cornwall/public-health-campaigns/dont-flush-your-life-away/

I have been the lead for various national projects aimed at a holistic approach for people with DD and epilepsy. This includes identifying and mitigating the national problems, challenges in work force, resources and competency of various stakeholders involved in the care of these complex individuals. These National reports are – reports/management-of-epilepsy-in-adults-with-intellectual-disability-cr203-may-2017 reports/prescribing-anti-epileptic-drugs-for-people-with-epilepsy-and-intellectual-disability-cr206-oct-2017
NHS RightCare national commissioning toolkit & NHS England national epilepsy pathway

Do not flush your life away - campaigns/dont-flush-your-life-away/ finalist for the BMJ Awards 2017.

The Purple Book - Book a tool for self-empowerment and monitoring on psychotropic and anticonvulsant medication for people with ID

I have developed a standardized 30 minute e-learning test to enable trainers across the UK to test their course attendees’ understanding of delivering good care and rescue Midazolam medication. The e-test includes videos to examine the candidate’s ability to identify the practical procedures required in Buccal Midazolam administration with the aim of ensuring the trainee has gained the necessary learning during training. The e- test was created in partnership and consultation with local, regional and national level epilepsy experts, service users, carers and charities. The website was tested for quality standards and is supported as a source to improve patient safety by our stakeholders including the JEC, the International League of Epilepsy UK chapter, SUDEP Action, Epilepsy Action, South West Epilepsy Nurses group, Peninsula Academic Health Science Network and two NHS Trusts. It was formally launched on the 17th September 2013 at the South –West Epilepsy Conference and was shortlisted for the HSJ awards 2014 and national patient safety awards 2015. This has now been adopted by Cornwall Council and reaches all Cornish registered organizations (16000 carers). This model is being looked to being adopted in other parts of the country. I am leading a collaborative of ILAE UK and ESNA to redevelop the National rescue epilepsy guidance.

I have developed a checklist to support safe transfer of patients with ID across regions to address and mitigate some of the concerns raised in the Winterbourne enquiry. This checklist has been approved by the RCPsych executive and is approved as good practice by the National LD senate.

I am a co-developer of the intervention ‘SMART CART’ which has been awarded the internationally acclaimed Medical Futures innovation award (14/06/07).

I helped conceptualize, arrange and organize the mock OSCE now CASC exam (13 continuous stations) for the Part 3 MRCPsych clinical entrants. The mock exam is bi annual and is well received. It caters to all examinees in the South-West region of UK. Places for candidates outside Cornwall are sold at nominal rates and funds generated through this help buffer the Trust CPD budget. This was awarded the Royal College of Psychiatrists (south west division) Innovation award for 2009.

I was successful in acquiring 2 separate £5000 grants from the Peninsula Deanery to help develop training DVDs. The projects have been completed successfully. The first project on CASC DVDs is a well-recognized part of the clinical exam preparation now with sales being nationally and internationally. The money from the sale of DVDs goes towards the Trust continued professional development funds for the Trust doctors. This was awarded the Royal College of Psychiatrists (south west division) Innovation award for 2011 and was ‘highly commended’ at the BMA book awards.

Our new quality of life and communication e- tool ‘Cornwall epilepsy radar’ is being piloted.

A New pathway for consent to assist GPs and easy read for female patients who have learning disability to foster informed choice and communication around oral contraceptive use and antiepileptic medication.

I have helped conceptualized mental health podcasts for GPs in Innovait (The RCGP training journal) which is now a regular monthly feature

Additional information

Awards and Notable Achievements –

1. 01/2018 – Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)

2. 10/2020 – Winner - BMJ Awards – Mental Health Team of the Year

3. 04/2019 – Winner – BMJ Awards – Education Team of the Year

4. 08/2018 - Epileptic Disorders ILAE Educational Prize ( educational-prize)

5. 05/2018 – Finalist - BMJ Awards – Mental Health Category

6. 05/2017 – Highly Commended - BMJ Awards – Innovation Team of the Year

7. 05/2017 – Finalist - BMJ Awards – Mental Health Category

8. 11/2016 – Winner – Health Business Awards – Healthcare IT category

9. 11/2016 - EpSMon – peer r/w chosen by NHS England as 1 of 7 National Innovation Accelerator Fellowship

10. 11/2016 – Finalist (top 3) – South West NHS Leadership awards

11. 09/2016 - Finalist (top 3) – EHI national awards

12. 06/2016 – Winner- HSJ Patient Safety Awards - Education and Training in Patient Safety

13. 06/2016 – Winner - HSJ Patient Safety Awards – Patient Safety in Mental Health

14. 06/2016 – Finalist- HSJ Patient Safety Awards - Improving Safety in Primary Care

15. 06/2016 – Finalist- HSJ Patient Safety Awards - Managing Long-Term Conditions

16. 06/2016 – Finalist- HSJ Patient Safety Awards – Technology and IT to Improve Patient Safety

17. 05/2016 – Winner – BMJ Awards – Neurology Team of the Year

18. 04/2016 – research paper ‘safe and sound’ European Journal of Epilepsy editorial choice 03/2016

19. 03//2016 - Finalist- Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value Awards – General Medicine

20. 03/2016 – Finalist- Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value Awards –Specialist Care

21. 03/2016 - Finalist for Health service Journal (HSJ) Awards – Telehealth

22. 02/2016 – Winner – Epilepsy Foundation USA - SUDEP Challenge

23. 02/2016 - National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) commercial principal investigators Award

24. 11/2015 – Finalist – Health Service Journal (HSJ) Patient Safety

25. 11/2015 – Finalist – Health Service Journal (HSJ) – Efficiency with technology

26. 09/2015 - ILAE UK – 1st prize – expert led poster presentation

27. 07/2015 – Finalist- Health Service Journal (HSJ) Patient Safety Awards -Safety in Medicines Management

28. 11/2014 - Finalist for Health service Journal (HSJ) Awards – Improved Care with Technology

29. 08/2014 - Best Poster Award – Academic Psychiatry Conference Singapore

30. 03/2014 – European Journal of Epilepsy paper in the top 5 most downloaded papers for the quarter

31. 11/2013 - Finalist for Health service Journal (HSJ) Awards – innovation with Technology category

32. 11/2013 – Finalist Royal College of Psychiatrists – Public educator of the year

33. 11/2012 - Finalist for the Health service Journal (HSJ) Awards – mental health innovations category.

34. 11/2012 - The RCPsych (south west division) Innovation award runner’s up for monthly Radio.

35. 09/2012 – Runners up - CFT Staff Recognition awards (service user nominated category)

36. 04/2012 – Finalist in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Awards Public Communicator Category

37. 11/2011 - The RCPsych (south west division) Innovation award for the Cornish CASC DVDs

38. 09/2011 – British Medical Association (BMA) book awards – ‘highly commended’ award

39. 05/2011 – 1st prize for audit poster at the RCGP southwest Tamar annual study day

40. 11/2009 - The RCPsych (south west division) Innovation award for the Cornish CASC Project

41. 06/2007 - Medical Futures innovation international award for SMART Cart