Our weekly guide to healthcare's most influential people

Published: 03/10/2002 Volume II2, No.5825 Page 9

Name: Mike Shooter

Job: President, Royal College of Psychiatrists

Style: Severe opposition to the government's draft mental health bill.But this softly-spoken psychiatrist is described as 'a man of many colours, with rich aspects to him'.After taking the college into the Mental Health Alliance, with patients'groups and charities - 'a practical and symbolic step'- the new president is leading the charge against the draft bill.Why? Because the lock 'em up law is 'a public order bill dressed up as mental health legislation', he says.'It is a licence to detain people in large numbers.'

Against 'preventive detention as a principle'.

Loves Nye Bevan, living 'in a semi-converted pigsty'halfway up a Welsh mountain, the world's best pub 'a couple of fields away', horse racing, Flemish painter Robert Campin and poetry.Hates 'them and us'barriers between psychiatrists and patients - an issue close to the heart of a man who is frank about his own depression.

Background: Started as a history and law student, then worked as a journalist, teacher, gardener, bus conductor... 'My partner and I decided I should have a proper career. I think I was selling carpets then.'Doctor came top of the ideal job list, so he started studying science from scratch, dissecting animals in the kitchen.

Worked for 22 years in the Welsh valleys as a specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry.

Future prospects: Would like to move from opposing the draft bill to 'thinking what we want in a better bill'. If the government will listen.'Start again with a different rationale, 'he told ministers.