Welcome to an update of how the March 2018 Mental Health carer forum went. I usually try to chair several carer forums around South London and on Friday the 23rd of March we had a forum at Southwark Carers. As stated in previous posts, one of the core aspects of the carer forums is to give carers the space, platform and voice for engagement at their local mental health trust.
Fortunately the forums are very much supported by our mental health trust and at this particular forum we had engagement from the Southwark Modern Matron for South London & Maudsley. Matron’s used to be used very much earlier on in the NHS history and now South London & Maudsley are bringing them back to help with quality standards, engagement with wards and a whole lot more.
South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust has 4 Modern Matron’s each one for the four boroughs the trust provides services in. For Southwark the Modern Matron focuses on Physical Health, Lambeth is on reduction in violence on wards, Lewisham focuses Quality improvement and Croydon on Learning disabilities and Carer engagement. As a note all 4 do a whole lot more, but these are some of the core aspects the matron’s work on.
Zara the Modern Matron for Southwark spoke about how important it is to build relationships with the staff on the Acute wards. She spoke how she trained for the role and her passion to make a big difference. As a carer, I was very interested in what she had to say and her way of speaking made me even more interested in mental health overall. The modern matron for the borough of southwark also spoke about how care plans will hopefully be more of the focus in ward rounds held at the 4 hospitals. She spent a large time engaging with carers at the forum about SLaM’s “Carer engagement & observation plan” and changing the culture of how NHS staff can engagement and involve carers.
Lots of big projects are happening with Maudsley working with the two other big Mental Health NHS trusts that being Oxleas and the other being South West London & St Georges. We also heard about the importance of the 5 year physical plan from SLaM looking at
– Stoping smoking
– Smear tests
– Nutrianal health and more
One of the reasons for the 5 year plan is that patients with mental health needs often tend not to focus on their own physical health needs and the NHS trust feels that mental and physical health should be the focus in health and recovery.
Other parts of the forum is that the borough of Southwark’s MPs have responded and will have time to engage with the forum, we are still waiting to hear from the last MP. The other good news is that the mental health lead for Southwark CCG will visit the forum in the coming months. So far, I am very impressed with the support the forum is getting from the borough of Southwark, but unfortunately there still is a lot of work to do in order to bring changes for families and carers.
The last part of the forum was exploring the following question regarding improving services for SLaM. I wanted to collect information from carers on how they feel South London & Maudsley could improve the quality of it services.
Hopefully we can get more carers attending the forum, but if not that then at least they can have an option to try attend a carers support group, which we hope will be set up to catch hidden carers or those who feel their role is not about caring.
Thanks for reading.