Joint Southwark & Lambeth MH Carers forum November 2021

Here is another brief update from my Joint Southwark & Lambeth Mental Health carer forum. One of the carer forums where those who care for someone suffering mental ill health can network and get engagement, info and support from health & social care services.

My carer forums do not just seek engagement from mental health services, every so often carer members request information from accute services.

Speakers for November were

  • Verinder Mander – CEO of Southwark Carers – Southwark’s carers strategy
  • Kieran Quirke – Kings College Hospital Mental health lead
  • Dr Noreen Dera – Young black male mental health

Apologies were given from Verinder, although she did explain a few things regarding Southwark’s carers strategy, which were discussed during the forum. It is clear there is no carer’s strategy for Southwark and it needs to be updated

Kieran Quirke – Kings College Hospital presentation

Kieran who is the mental health lead for Kings College Hospital trust gave us a 10 minute overview of what his role is. Kieran has worked in mental health nursing for about 20 years. Through a variety of posts. He started his career at the Maudsley addictions service in most of his career. The last 12 years or so has been in genuine hospitals and dealing with the challenges around mental health care and acute settings.

He has worked at St. Mary’s Hospital and for a period and Chelsea & Westminister. He has been at King since 2015 employed by SLaM as the liaison psychiatry. He came into this post currently in July 2021 and it’s a relatively new role for specific types of heads of nursing for acute hospitals, there’s one or two NHS trusts that mental health leads, Chelsea hospital is one of them, but most of the NHS trust’s around the country either don’t have one or they are new to the culture until such a role is placed.

Kieran took on the role after his predecessor, who was engaging with the carer forum in the past. He was really in the process of developing the role futher, when unfortunately, the pandemic disrupted everything. So it’s meant that the role is still underdeveloped. It is also clear that the NHS trust is a huge trust, which has five hospital sites, large number of staff, large number of beds, which are patient beds and also outpatient treatment, Kings acutually have some excellent resources, they are also very lucky to have a very integrated liaison psychiatry service for three decades, which is huge compared to a lot of other local hospitals elsewhere in the country. Kieran pointed out that there is an awful lot still to be done throughout the hospital on all of their sites.

So for mental health, Himself and his colleague, who is the mental health network manager. One of the things he’s trying to do at the moment of our focus was to try to get some sort of governance across mental health care throughout the NHS trust, because what’s tended to happen is lots of mental health work gets commissioned. There can be very little consistency, and challenges regarding a complete oversight.

What Kings have been trying to do is bring all that data together and get a much better idea of where they need to really start working on. Given his job itself, Kieren mentioned it’s a kind of a mix of things. So the main part of his job is probably more along strategic lines, it’s about an agreed mental health strategy, and kings have tried to help that move forward. His job is also very much within the nursing pathway, which is quite important, because it’s about patient experience. So he is often involved in sort of complications and issues with patients time, or when the pathways aren’t quite working out the way they should be. So it’s very much a mix of things. Kings hospital trust focus at the moment in regards to mental health is firstly around the strategy that they have. Which was something developed about three or four years ago and was it was signed off by the Trust Board.

Kieran mentioned Kings have got a pandemic strategy, which they have done quite a lot of work on but there is still more to do along with updates to other strategies, which hopefully will be launched publicly. This strategies will look at what changes are coming for staff and patients in the future. Such strategies are focused on on specific areas as on improving safety outcomes which patients can experience. While other strategies focus very much on the emergency departments, delivering improvements in they mind and body care, and that’s specifically focused around children and young people and long term conditions. Kings are very busy Working with theur system partners to try and improve pathways and strategies on maternity and dementia care. Plus on sharing good practice ensuring high quality care is generally available throughout the trust.

In relation to carers, Kieran thinks some of the projects involving patients and carers were kind of an early casualty of the lockdown. People couldn’t come in and visit for systemically long periods of time, however carers are very important to Kings. So in particular, things like dementia carers groups, there was a plan to for example, to start one. There has been development in other aspects. So there’s been a lot of work gone into developing a dementia cafe, off the Denmark Hill site. That’s very much been the focus around carers which could launch in January 2022, and that’s still the plan.