Ghent Group

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The Ghent Group has no formal membership although inevitably regular participants tend to regard themselves as members in a loose sense. Participants are invited on an annual basis by that year’s organiser. He or she will include as many psychiatrists who work within the European Union or the European Free Trade Area, who have an interest in forensic psychiatry, who wish to attend and who can be accommodated at the chosen venue for that year. Any psychiatrist, who has not previously participated and who fulfils these criteria can ask the organiser for the year to be considered for a place. Occasionally psychiatrists outside the European areas indicated are invited to attend as observers at the discretion on the organiser for that year. Also, on occasions, speakers who are not psychiatrists have been invited by the organiser to present their views or their data.


One of the important issues discussed was the certificate of completed specialist (higher) psychiatric training (CCST) which enables psychiatrists in one part of the European Union(EU) to work in any other part of the EU, language permitting. In the UK and Ireland, forensic psychiatry is a recognised subspecialty of psychiatry, with a separate CCST. This is not the case in most other European countries, but most other countries do have specific training programmes in forensic psychiatry. With greater mobility between countries and the expanding union, it is likely that more specialists will seek or be invited to work outside their native country. The potential clientele and patients also will be much more mobile with international consultation being required and/or transfer of cases growing in number.


While clinical aspects of assessment and treatment are likely to be more similar than not between countries, the way in which services are provided may differ considerably. There are also sufficient differences in mental health law and the way in which people with a major mental disorder may be dealt with in Court that it can, at present, be difficult to consult with any confidence across national boundaries.   In discussing these issues, we began to ask questions such as:


How can we facilitate communication between European countries about mentally disordered offenders appearing in the courts?

How can we facilitate transfer of patients between countries if/when this becomes appropriate?


The practical recommendation to result from this meeting was that Professor John Gunn in the UK and Professor Norbert Nedopil from Germany should seek to identify forensic psychiatry trainers across Europe, and invite them to take part in an exploratory meeting to discuss these matters further in a wider group. This was arranged to be held in Gent, Belgium, in March 2004.

Since then, several Ghent Group Meetings have been held and different participants have attended Ghent Group Sessions:


Kris Goethals (Netherlands)

Hans Hulsbos (Netherlands)

Van Weers (Netherlands)

Ellen Van Lier (Netherlands)

Mathis Dominique (France)

Alexandre Dailliet (France)

Peter Kramp (Denmark)

Camilla Bock (Denmark)

Dorte Sestoft (Denmark)

Eric Vicens (Spain)

Vicenç Tort (Spain)

Esperanza L. Gómez Durán (Spain)

Laura Hernández (Spain)

Alfredo Calcedo (Spain)

Luisa Peleteiro (Spain)

Franco Scarpia (Italy)

Maximo Colon (Portugal)

Ellen Kjelsberg (Norway) 

Paul Cosyns (Belgium)

Kris Naudts (UK/Belgium)

Gerhard Ortwein-Swoboda (Austria)

Bjorn Ostberg (Norway)

Norbert Nedopil (Germany)

Bernd Otterman (Germany)

Suzanne Laush (Germany)

Osterheider (Germany)

Michael Rosler (Germany)

Schmidbauer (Germany)

Wolfgang Retz (Germany)

Hans Joachim Salize (Germany)

Nahla Saimeh (Germany)

Jürgen Müller (Germany)

Pamela Taylor (UK)

John Gunn (UK)

John Baird (UK)

Janet Parrott (UK)

Gill McGauley (UK)

David Reiss (UK)

Kim Fraser (UK)

Harvey Gordon (UK)

María Bragado Jiménez (UK)

Roland Jones (UK)

Birgit Völlm (UK)

Rajan Darjee (UK)

Lindsay Thomson (UK)

Louise Robinson (UK)

Helen O’Neill (Ireland)

Conor O’Neill (Ireland)

Miriam Kennedy (Ireland)

Damian Mohan (Ireland)

Paul O’Connell (Ireland)

Per Lindqvist (Sweden)

Eva Bjerke (Sweden)

Åsa Brandt (Sweden)

Marianne Kristians-son (Sweden)

Clara Gumpert (Sweden)

Marc Graf (Switzerland)

Hizao Katoh (Japan)

Peter Silfen (Hungary)



Ghent Group Participants - London 2014


Balint Szuromi

Sophie Anhoury

Brigitta Baran

Ferenc Adam Szabo

Lindsay Thompson

Allan Seppanen

Damian Mohan

Kris Goethals

Marc Graf

Markku Eronen

Paul Cosyns

Peter Silfen

Thomas Marquant

Janet Parrott

Vicente Tort Herrando

Rudy Verelst        

Florence Thibaut

Pamela Taylor

John Gunn

David Reiss

Leticia Muñoz Garcia

Clodagh Commane

Harvey Gordon

Paul Gilluley

Bradley Hillier

Catherine Penny

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