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Walter Busuttil

Dr Walter Busuttil MBChB MPhil MRCGP FRCPsych RAF (Retd)

Consultant Psychiatrist & Visiting Professor


Dr Walter Busuttil MBChB MPhil MRCGP FRCPsych RAF (Retd), was appointed Visting Professor to KCMHR in January 2022.

Walter joined the RAF as a medical student cadet in 1981 graduating as a Medical Doctor at the University of Manchester in 1983. He served as a General Duties Medical Officer at various fast jet flying stations RAF stations in the UK, and abroad and on deployment completing he General Practice Training, before re-training in psychiatry on the RAF Training scheme which included some time at The Maudsley and in Oxford. He was appointed Consultant Psychiatrist in 1994. He was part of the team that retrieved and rehabilitated the Beirut Hostages in 1991 and which set up PTSD rehabilitation services for personnel returning from Gulf War 1. He led RAF community services in East Anglia before retiring at the rank of Wing Commander in 1997.

He worked treating adult survivors of sexual abuse for 7 years at Ticehurst House Hospital setting up tertiary services for CPTSD sufferers and was appointed Medical Director of a Partnerships In Care all women’s forensic hospital for 3 years before being appointed Director of Medical Services at Combat Stress in June 2007.

He set up clinical governance, national community and residential programmes collaborating and liaising with the highest levels of the NHS, MoD and other charities and national and international agencies.

He is past Chair of the UK Trauma Group (UKTG) and was a Founder Board Member of the UK Psychological Trauma Society (UKPTS) (2008-2013). He has lectured and published extensively on veterans’ mental health and trauma survivors. He set up the Combat Stress research department collaboration with KCMHR in 2014, leading to national and international collaborations and many publications on veterans’ and carers’ clinical needs and interventions.

He is a founder member of the Five Eyes Mental Health Research Collaborative which advises the Veterans’ ministers of the Five Eyes Countries on Military Mental Health (from 2018).

He sits on the Armed Forces Clinical Reference Group for NHS England (2021-current) and on the mental health subcommittee (2015-cutrrent).

In August 2020 he stepped down as DMS at Combat Stress and is now the Director or Research and (Clinical) Training at Combat Stress.

Walter received a Lifetime Achievement Award for Soldiering on for services to the Military Family in 2016.

He was appointed Lifetime Member of the Association of Psychiatry Malta 2019.
Walter was an Hon Snr Lecturer in Psychiatry Kent Institute for Medical Studies 1999-2004. And an Hon Research Assistant in Psychology Royal Holloway and Bedford New College 1993-1995.

Research Interests

  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, CPTSD
  • Translational research and treatment for PTSD including group programmes and medications and other interventions
  • Military Psychiatry, Military Veterans
  • Adult survivors of sexual abuse

Research Groups

  • Member of the Five Eyes Mental Health Research and Innovation Collaborative (MHRIC)
  • SIG of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) CPTSD interest group 

Expertise & Public Engagement

  • Active in the media since 2007 in matters related to PTSD military veterans and mental health This includes all national newspapers, TV news, documentaries, national and international.
  • Approximately 90 publications including 19 book chapters and over 300 invited national and international conference keynote, workshops, masterclasses and other academic events.
  • Former Medical Director of All Women’s Forensic Hospital The Dene Partnerships in Care 2004-7
  • Medical Director Combat Stress 2007-2020
  • Responsible Officer Combat Stress 2013-2020
  • Director of Research and Training Combat Stress 2020-current
  • Teaching to various university courses, United Nations Humanitarian Organisations, Military Organisations Internationally, Third Sector Mental Health Organisations nationally and Internationally, Psychiatric Services Malta.


Busuttil, W. (2008) Prolonged Incarceration: Effects on Hostages of Terrorism. Journal of the Royal Army Medical College. 154(2) 128-135.

Busuttil, W. (2004) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Elderly: A need for investigation International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 19, 429-439.

Busuttil, W (2006) The development of a 90 day residential program for the treatment of Complex PostTraumatic Stress Disorder. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 12 1/2, 29-55.

Murphy D, Spencer-Harper L, Carson C, Palmer E, Hill K, Sorfleet N, Wessely, S., Busuttil, W. (2016). Long-term responses to treatment in UK veterans with military-related PTSD. BMJ Open 2016 BMJ Open 2016;6:e011667. doi:10.1136bmjopen-2016-011667.

Murphy, D., Shevlin, M., Pearson, E., Greenberg, N., Wessely, S., Busuttil, W., Karatzias T. (2020). A validation study of the International Trauma Questionnaire to assess ICD-11 posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD (CPTSD) in treatment seeking veterans. (2020) British Journal of Psychiatry, Themed Issue : Disasters and Trauma 216, 132-137.doi:10.1192/bjp.2020.9

Murphy, M., Williamson, C., Baumann, J., Busuttil, W., Fear, N (2020) Exploring the impact of Covid-19 and restrictions to daily living as a result of social distancing within veterans with pre-existing mental health difficulties BMJ Mil Health 2020;0:1–5. doi:10.1136/bmjmilitary-2020-001622

Murphy, D., Karatzias, T., Busuttil, W., Greenberg, N., & Shevlin, M. (2021). ICD-11 Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD (CPTSD) in Treatment Seeking Veterans: Risk factors and comorbidity. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

Busuttil, W (2021) Combat Stress and Mental Health in Veterans In: Promoting Men’s Mental Health 4th Edition (eds R, Kirby, C., Carson; A., White & M., Kirby). Chapter 38; Radcliffe Publishing: Oxford New York.

Busuttil, W (2021) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder A Guide to Psychiatric Examination' second edition. (eds C Aquilina & G Tucker).pp271-287; Elsevier: London.  


King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR)

The King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR), King’s College London, is the leading civilian UK centre of excellence for military health research.


King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR)

The King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR), King’s College London, is the leading civilian UK centre of excellence for military health research.