Welcome to the first joint Southwark & Lambeth mental health carer forum. As usual the forum brings together unpaid carers from both London boroughs and beyond to seek engagement from mental health, health & social care services. There will at times be national speakers or I might talk about carer empowerment or carer awareness from my books.
Speakers for January were
Cristina Clarke – Non Regulated Staff Code of Conduct Project
Lee Roach – Lambeth reflections on carer focus
Alice Glover – SLaM involvement structure breakdown
Cristina Clarke presents
Cristina explained a little bit about her role and work that she is doing to support the nursing Directorate. The project is specifically on unregulated staff code of conduct that they are currently reviewing. Cristina is a nurse by background where she is supporting the Deputy Chief Nurse for the trust to look at the policies and the clinical policies across the Maudsley NHS Foundation trust. Cristina is also working on safer staffing. One of the things that they have done recently, is set up a service user and carer review group looking into such policies. It is true that in the past policies can often be quite dry, quite long, lengthy, and at times don’t always have the voice of people using the services and haven’t always been scrutinized appropriately. So they have had to set up a group where service users and carers get involved, unfortunately they are low on carers, in fact, most of the people in the policy review group are service users, so they really want more voices from carers to help review clinical policy going forwards.
The thing is it’s not only policy regulation, but it’s related to staffing. They have got a code of conduct for the NHS trust, which is for those who aren’t sort of governed by a statutory agency. For example where the nursing workforce are governed by the National Nursing Midwifery Council, or medics are usually members of the GMC. SLaM have recognized that there’s a huge proportion of the workforce, including peer support workers, and psychologists, clinicians that don’t have a code of conduct. Still the Trust has regulation policy but it’s quite old. So they have been reviewing it and wanting to bring it up to date with national guidance. They are looking at aligning the policy with the trust strategy that was reviewed recently. Cristina mentioned that they are really keen to get some feedback from service users and carers, because it effects such a huge part of The workforce who are providing care day in and day out.
Cristina reminded us if anyone was interested in getting involved in policy review they actually have got some focus groups coming up. If they want to just have a read a bit and get some feedback, whether it be in a quite a structured way, or if it’s just informally just having a chance to read and feedback is all that is needed.
Alice Glover presents on involvement at South London & Maudsley
It was now Alice Glover turn to present. She is one of Muadsley’s Patient & public involvement leads. Alice actually attends my forums from time to time, and she wanted to talk about encouraging people to get involved at the NHS trust if the can. Alice and SLaM are really keen to get more carers / family carers to be involved in some of the NHS trust improvement work. Alice mentioned it was quite timely hearing what Christina had just talked about, because that’s a really good example of how people can get involved in helping improve the services. Alice moved to talk a bit about what the involvement register and how it works in terms of opportunities for people to review the policies.
The involvement register is literally a list of people who have experience of the SLaM services, either as a service user, or as a family member or carer, once you’re on this list, you can be paid for your time, if you help Maudsley services with service improvements. So the people that are in the group that Christina talked about are actually members of the involvement register, they may come together and meet once every six weeks. People can be paid for their time during the meetings, but they are also paid for their time if they’re reviewing documents.
Alice mentioned she understands that there maybe challenges around they’re carrying responsibilities but also people may be working. So for carers, it may be really important to have opportunities to comment on documents in their own time when it’s convenient for them. If they are able to get on the involvement, register, then there are differences that people can be paid for their time. And the payment rates are 10 pounds an hour for reading documents outside of meetings, if you’re on a Zoom meeting or a team’s meeting, and you might be using your data, then the payment rate currently is 15 pounds an hour. And you can do up to 30 hours a month. On the involvement register, it’s a very ad hoc, most people don’t do anywhere near 30 hours is completely up to you. Most people would do maybe a couple of hours a week before that.
I produced a list of involvement operations which Alice started talking about at length. Alice mentioned the list is quite a broad list. Each of the departments have collated a list of the sorts of things that people are involved in. Alice mainly covers Lambeth and Southwark. In those boroughs there are advisory groups. This is were there are a group of people with lived experience who meet every month and discuss service improvements.
Alice finished up her talk stating that a staff member or manager might come along to the advisory groups and say what projects they are thinking of doing, it could be thinking of making a change to the inpatient services and they want to know what the group thinks about it. As a carer, or family member, they can bring their own perspective and say, “Well, that might work. But have you thought of this?”
Alice feels that when people are designing services, historically, there have been times when the carers perspective hasn’t been included, and Maudsley NHS are trying to work harder to make sure that does happen. So advisory groups meet every month and basically they are a group of people giving advice around their lived experience.
Lee Roach presents on how Lambeth MH services have been engaging with carers
Lee Roach who has been supporting the forum wanted to run through some of the support that Lambeth MH services have been providing to carers. SLam now have a dedicated carer support service. There is carer support service for psychosis and bipolar. They predominantly have been operating their meetings by phone during the during the pandemic, plus they have a monthly support group where they run over teams a bit like matthew’s carer forums, which are kind of moderately well attended. It seems people have contacted by phone rather than using using online technology for groups. The Lambeth services usually have around 100 contacts a month with carers.
There are other means of carer support in the form of ward carer champions. Lee mentioned that the carer champions are individual staff members who are either based in one of their teams. So either at the ward or in one of the community mental health teams. They have been able to maintain a register of carer champions in all of their community mental health settings. So for the short term, their Lambeth support services the focus within the home treatment teams and all of the wards in the hospital who have got carer champions.
Lee continued stating that the way that they support them is that they have a forum every two months, which they share with Southwark support staff. So Southwark & Lambeth carer champions tend to meet and update. They have also been running these online groups, which have been reconfigured a number of occasions, around dates and times and things. Although online meetings are quite successful with community carer champions from the Lambeth community teams, there are not so successful with the impatient carer champions. So Lee is looking at probably running inpatient face to face groups as soon as possible with the carer champions.
The idea of these meetings is that they can share good practice. So some of the things that weren’t on the wards might not be working as effectively on those mental health teams. Some of the issues might come up against, and also just an opportunity for for those of us dealing with carer’s role in Southwark or Lambeth to kind of update them on changes across the trust new initiatives. These things could be like what will have an impact on carers. As mentioned Lee has been running a Lambeth inpatient family and carers group. These run every two weeks. Where it is a virtual meeting where they use the Microsoft Team’s platform. Lee has to request carer details from the impatient team managers and the carer champions where he gets in contact with carers and then he explains about the meeting, and then invites them along.
Lee also talked about support from matrons at the hospital who come along to the online carer support groups. They are joined by the community pharmacist to answer questions about medication that carers might have. Lee is also involved with Carer’s Lambeth Hub, where he attends a number of different meetings that they run carers collaboration. These groups usually discuss carers strategy where to make sure South London and Maudsley are finding out what’s going on with other carer organizations.
So that we can make sure that our people we’re working with about that, and also that we’re involved in black thrive, Lambeth wide initiatives around carers and Lee attends Matthew’s National triangle of care meetings, this is where South London & Maudsley is working on there triangle of care audit. There are going for their first star.