Schizophrenia and Covid-19: Dr Kah Long Aw’s winning work

Young doctor audited care of patients with schizophrenia during the pandemic

Schizophrenia and Covid-19: Dr Kah Long Aw’s winning work

Dr Kah Long Aw has been named the Overall Winner of South Eastern Division Poster Prize at the Royal College of Psychiatrists South Eastern Division & London Division Autumn Conference 2020 which took place on November 26. The prize was awarded for his submission ‘Schizophrenia and Covid-19: Are standards being met during the Covid-19 Pandemic?’ 

Kah is a Foundation Year 1 student in the Oxford Deanery and currently working on the Opal Ward at Oxford Health’s Whiteleaf Centre in Aylesbury. His winning work was inspired by his scientific interests as well as clinical considerations. 

“I chose to audit schizophrenia because I really enjoy the neuropsychiatric aspects of this disorder,” he says.

“There exist downstream effects of neurodevelopmental pathologies, and the hope is to combine this knowledge with other areas such as genomics, neuropharmacology and neuroimaging, The enigmatic nature of schizophrenia means that like in many areas of medicine, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all management plan for patients.” 

“I was worried that patients with schizophrenia were not receiving the care they deserve during the Covid-19 pandemic, and this led me to design and conduct the audit titled, ‘Schizophrenia and Covid-19: Are standards being met during the Covid-19 Pandemic?’ he explains. 

The audit found reduced adherence in physical health monitoring, psychological services and certain aspects of antipsychotic prescription in the Whiteleaf Centre. 

Kah says: “Now implementation of a new proforma document has resulted in the improvement across multiple domains in physical health monitoring. We have also included designated sections in the ward round proforma document to hopefully improve antipsychotic prescription. We intend to conduct future audits to assess sustainability of said interventions during the pandemic. Thank you to Dr Ikeobi Okonkwo and Dr Shinn Tan for assisting in the audit.” 

Kah’s placement on the Opal Ward is part of his training as a doctor and he is pursuing a career in neurosurgery. 

” I am fascinated by its surgical intricacies – and who wouldn’t want to explore the ever-mysterious brain?” he notes. 

“Having started my first job as a doctor, especially during the pandemic, I often felt pressured in balancing all the projects and board exams I had on my plate over the past four months. It became the norm to revise for exams and work on projects after work hours. This prize has validated these efforts and motivated me to continue working hard for the NHS and my future patients.” 

“I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with: Dr Sophie Johnson, Dr Grant, Dr McNally, Dr Tan and all the other staff members. Special thanks to my ‘work mom’, Dr Sophie Johnson, for guiding me throughout my rotation here. I strongly feel that under her leadership, the work that they do in Opal Ward is a blessing to the community”.  

Dr Johnson said: “Kah has put a lot of work into this excellent audit, which has given us very useful clinical data, and allows us to improve patient care. Kah was a real asset to our team and I am proud of his achievement!”

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Published: 3 December 2020