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St John of God St Raphael's

Dr John Hillery
St Raphael's, Celbridge
Co. Kildare



01 628 8168

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General Information

There are two Learning Disability Psychiatry Posts on the Rotation. Both are recognised by the College of Psychiatry of Ireland. They are based at three sites in the greater Dublin area and in Kildare. Each post covers two sites with a Consultant Supervisor for each site.

St. John of God Kildare Services provide a network of day, educational, residential and respite services to almost 400 children and adults with a Learning Disability, who reside in the catchment area of North Kildare.

The St. John of God Carmona Service provides a range of day and residential services and supports for children and adults with a Learning Disability in South Dublin.

St. Michael’s House provides a range of services to 1,624 children and adults with a Learning Disability in over 170 centres in the Greater Dublin Area.

All these services are accredited for training by the College of Psychiatry of Ireland and by the main national training authorities for allied health professionals.  All care is delivered through multi-disciplinary teams.  Full on-site induction is provided for all staff at commencement of placement.  


Educational Objectives

1. To gain experience and understanding of the current roles of psychiatrists and other clinicians in the lives of people with Learning Disability, their families and carers.

 2. To gain an understanding of the historical and current models of service provision for people with Learning Disability and their families and the effect these may have on mental health.

3. To gain an understanding of the effect that Learning Disability has on the causation, presentation, and treatment of mental illness.

4. To gain knowledge of the proposed model of Mental Health Service provision as outlined in government policy and its variance with current service provision.

5. To gain an understanding of the role of the psychiatrist in assessment of and intervention in challenging behaviour in people with all levels of Learning Disability.

6. To get a broad understanding of autistic spectrum disorders associated with Learning Disability and their possible effects on mental health and behaviour.

7. To get a broad understanding of the interaction between epilepsy and challenging behaviour and/or mental illness in people with Learning Disability.

8. To understand the concept of Behavioural Phenotypes (e.g. Down syndrome, Fragile X) and their impact on individual mental health.

9. To learn the theoretical, legal and practical parameters of the assessment of legal capacity.


There are regular multi-disciplinary journal clubs and case presentations at all sites in which trainees are expected to play an active part.  As well as informal training from on–site behavioural specialists trainees are encouraged to avail of the formal training provided in behaviour assessment and management as it applies to the needs of people with learning disability. There is protected time to attend the generic academic session each week at St John of God Hospital in Stillorgan or an alternative academic activity where relevant. For those taking examinations release is facilitated to the examinations preparation  provided at the St. John of God Hospital.

Trainees have on-line access from their offices to most relevant journals through the Idaal System and have access to library support via the St. John of God Learning Disability Services Library and the St. Michael’s House Library. Trainees are encouraged to attend all relevant meetings of the College of Psychiatry of Ireland.


Both the St. John of God Services for People with Learning Disability and the St. Michael’s House Service have Research departments. Trainees are encouraged to take part in one audit during the placement and can avail of the support of the relevant service research departments and the formal links with the Centre for Disability Studies at UCD.  Every effort is made to allow protected time for attendance at the St. John Of God Research Department’s regular training and workshops.


There is an active multi-disciplinary reading group addressing the role of Psychotherapy in the lives of people with Learning Disability. Trainees are expected to take an active part in this. Opportunities arise for supervised brief intervention with patients where relevant.


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