IT Officer for London School of Osteopathy and a Carer representative for Maudsley. As you can see, I have many interests shown off my blog. I hope to keep it updated with posts and more things to come soon.
This poem is number 9 of the new book I am working on regarding the experience of care expressed as poetry.
I am looking at that clock again Tick tock, tick tock The sound is driving me crazy Tick tock, tick tock
His in the ward again, being detained It has been weeks now, and I am going insane All these thoughts rushing through my brain Wondering when if things will ever be the same
I think I will sit down and watch the TV Maybe if I put something on, the time will pass easy My brain hurts and my stomach is queasy Oh when will they ring, so someone can inform me
While the TV is on, its only been 20 minutes Nothings good worth watching and I am hitting my limits The sound of that clock, its making me fidgit Maybe I ll head out and see him on one of my visits
Oh I don’t know. Why am I doing this I rang them ages ago, something is amiss I grit my teeth, have a frown Something needs to turn around No one is calling My heart is falling My patience is gone and I am about to start bawling
Welcome fellow unpaid carers and families. With my involvement in local accute hospital NHS trusts. I have news of a great event that will be of interest. Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust are to launch their Improvement Showcase event for 2022. It will be open to all and be run virtually over Zoom. There will be national speakers presenting and also opportunity to hear about the great local improvements happening around health inequalities, patient co design and more.
Welcome back to another blog by former mental health carer Matthew McKenzie. I have an exciting project which black families could be interested in.
Black Families Involvement in New E-learning (Be FINE), is a new study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to COVID-19 and is led by Dr Valentina Cardi and Dr Juliana Onwumere at King’s College London.
The study has two aims. Firstly, to understand the experiences and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the carers of children and young people (6-24 years) from Black minority ethnic communities in the UK. The second aim is to explore with carers of children and young people from Black minority ethnic communities, the type of information they would find helpful to include in an online course that aims to offer carers skills to support children and young people with their mental health and wellbeing. The Be FINE study will employ a mixed methods design, using both online surveys and individual and group-based interviews.
The study has two parts; an online survey and focus groups. To participate, individuals have to be parents or carer of a young person from a Black racial minority and the child has to be aged between 6 – 24 years. We then ask that the participant fills out the online survey, this should take around half an hour. The participant will receive £15 amazon voucher for participating. Following this, the participant will have the chance to also sign up to the focus groups. These will last around an hour and the participant will receive a further £15 amazon voucher for this.
Black communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. We hope the study findings will aid the development of a more in-depth understanding of the experiences of Black minority families during the pandemic, and of what type of help, delivered online, might be perceived as beneficial in empowering carers to support the psychological wellbeing of children and young adults.
Below is the Link to the survey people can take part in.
Welcome fellow unpaid carers. I am involved in this exciting new study, where I feel it is very much needed to help shape mental health services. I hope members of my carer’s network or other carers who fit this role can also get involved.
We are looking for carers who support someone with mental health problems during hospital discharge. Please view the image below to get involved or email Dr Natasha Tyler via email@example.com
There is also more research carers can get involved in. This involves carers of adolescents or CAMHs services. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to my February update of my Carers forum for Lewisham by former mental health carer Matthew McKenzie FRSA. This forum allows those who care for someone suffering mental illness to get togther, network, gather information and get engagement from Health & social care services. I also allow for particular speakers on carer empowerment, carer’s rights, advocacy, campaigning and discussions.
For february our speakers were
Charolette from Healthwatch Lewisham
Cath Collins from South London & Maudsley
The new Lewisham service user network
Plus Wendy Dewhurst who is the General Manager for Lewisham Community Services (SLaM)
Charlotte Bradford from Healthwatch Lewisham presents
As you can probably tell from my previous blog posts, Healthwatch tends to listen and engage with my carer groups every so often. I am thankful for healthwatch to also help promote my carer groups to spread the word. Charlotte who is a project officer from Healthwatch Lewisham remembered attending one of my carer groups before Christmas, and this is her first into 2022. Charlotte oversees a number of different reports that healthwatch Lewisham produce on a yearly basis.
The most recent one that they published on their website is the digital exclusion report. Healthwath Lewisham spoke to a number of residents to hear more about their experiences over the past 18 months with accessing health and social care services. This will help Healthwatch Lewisham look at what their priorities will be for this year. Plus they will be focusing on the next report where they will be conducting a number of interviews on visits to care homes.
Cath Collins – carers social worker updates the group
Where ever I go and engage mental health carers I often ask if their mental health trust have a focus on unpaid carers. It really helps if there is a designated person whose role it is to focus on unpaid mental health carers. Over in Lewisham, we have a social worker whose job it is to focus and support unpaid carers. Cath Collins is employed by Lewisham council, but works closely with South London & Maudsley NHS trust.
I am glad we have Cath to update our carer members over in Lewisham. Cath mentioned that as of this moment for inpatient mental health services for Lewisham particularly on the wards they are going through a process called the “Triangle of Care” audit, which is a very good practice when it comes to supporting the mental health carers.
In a nutshell, it was put together by a carer (Alan Worthington). The triangle of care policy is kind of like a checklist. So you have the six key areas to check whether you are mental health carer friendly on your inpatient NHS wards in your services.
All five wards at the (SLaM) ladywell unit are going through their submitted assessments, these being the home treatment team assessment, although she is still waiting on the psychiatric liaison team to submit theirs. Basically it is all about making them think on how they support carers. These things could be : –
How do they evidence that?
How can we how can they prove that they do that?
What information do they give people?
How do they involve people in the assessment of the person who needs support.
If the staff are carer aware and that they know about the needs of carers and the impact of caring?
Do they have a lead in their team who supports carers?
So the triangle of care audit is really thorough and even though it seems like an exercise it’s been really good. Cath mentioned it’s really sort of good practice on going on some of the wards and in some of the teams it’s helped them to highlight and really think about visitors be it the mothers, partners, brothers and sisters who come to the wards who support someone in hospital.
Cath also reminded my carers group about the carers support session that evening, which is run in conjunction with Carers Lewisham.
Linda from Lewisham service user network presents
Our next speaker to the carers forum was Linda Amoakohene who is the Sun Project Lead and Senior Occupational Therapist. Linda works for the Lewisham personality disorder service. She is also leading on the Lewisham service User network which is part of the Lewisham personality disorder service.
Linda was here to tell us a little bit about a new project. Even though it is new it actually was launched in October 2021. So they are still relatively new. The project is open to really anyone in the community of Lewisham who may be having some mental health difficulties. It doesn’t have any particular mental health labels even though the service Linda is providing is sitting within a specific service the personality disorder service, the project is actually available to anyone in the community in Lewisham. So whether you identify yourself as a carer or a patient of South London and Maudsley or just a patient of a GP or a member of the community. It is open access.
The Service User network is a peer support group. So people who attend the group come to get support when they’re in crisis, or perhaps they are struggling with things that impact on their mental health. So people end up self referring where they can come as often or as little as they like. Linda also mentioned that they don’t have to be under the South London and Maudsley NHS services to access the project, they could just be under the GP. There are also leaflets about the project or people email the team, and then they will send you the link to self refer to the project. So once the person self refers, they then make contact with the person on the phone, to find out a little bit more about them.
At the team they then complete something called a “Crisis and support plan”, which is basically applied to help someone think and plan, especially when things are really tricky. This can lead to questions on what sorts of things help or don’t help. This is so people basically go away with something that they can sort of use in a dynamic way, whenever they need it.
As of this moment, the project has got three groups a week, and they’re happening online. They might launch a face to face group since the COVID situation is obviously changing, and the government rules are relaxing, but they may still maintain some of the health requirements because COVID hasn’t gone away, and they still want to protect lives.
I thought to ask Linda a Carer question : Where I was happy about the new project and service, but I was interested in what support will be provided to unpaid carers.
Linda responded at length that this group is for anybody, they don’t identify carers or service users
Wendy Dewhurst from South London & Maudsley presents
Wendy apologised for being a little late due to just catching up from coming off another online meeting. Wendy introduced herself as the general manager for community services in Lewisham, which essentially means that she has the day to day oversight and operational management for all of the services in the community. So that’s the primary care teams, community mental health teams, early intervention, low intensity and the personality disorder. Wendy has been in the role about a year and a half and during that time, She has taken all services through the transformation into the new model, which they are now trying to embed an implement, which is an ongoing process and is not going to happen overnight. However they have certainly seen some good results, particularly at the front end.
Wendy answered a few questions from group, where she fed back concerns about access to mental health services. Currently, the access is by the GP, although she is in the process of setting up a mental health advice line which should be operational, hopefully in the next month, where people that have any sort of concerns can talk about a mental health crisis. The service will be manned by the mental health charity MIND.
So if following a conversation with someone who mans that line and they feel that the person needs a service then they can put you directly into that team. So it will be a sort of option for self referral. Wendy thinks that there will be some people that maybe don’t want to engage with statutory services like GPS and maybe don’t trust particular services, so it’s another option to get that much needed support and they very keen on being able to process self referrals. This so SLaMs (South London & Maudsley) primary care mental health teams have something in Lewisham, which is where they can provide the most appropriate treatment that’s the least intrusive.
So it’s an intervention that services which involve psychology, Occuptional therapy and mental health advisors from MIND. Where they will work in an alliance, SLaM will work with the local authority and Bromley, Lewisham & Greenwich Mind.
Wendy mentioned they have an enhanced multidisciplinary team, where they work very closely with the GPS in the primary care team, and the GP tends to remain as the responsible doctor. The enhanced multidisciplinary team and the consultant will focus more on serious mental illness and longer care term needs where maybe patient might be subject to CPA (care Programme approach), still the move is that CPA is going to not exist going forward.
Wendy gave a talk describing the CPA where it has certain sorts of conditions with it. This is where you have to review every six months, you have a care coordinator, social worker and psychiatrist. Although what they found is that so often people that were on CPA, all the care was focused on that, and people that didn’t have CPA might not have got the same level of care. So what they want is for everybody to have the same level of care, irrespective of of what what that is, so has the same rights.
Final update from Cath Collins
Cath reminded us that our mental health NHS trust has a carer’s strategy called the family and care strategy. This is what they are doing in Lewisham and are trying to make it Lewisham specific. So things that are in the carer strategy as a whole will be relevant. So making sure the wards and the crisis services adhere to that good practice of the triangle of care. There’s another priority about young carers, identifying those 18 and under who are caring for their parents or brothers and sisters. Other things like making that SLaM’s carer information is up to date and relevant for mental health carers.
Welcome to my latest update for joint Southwark & Lambeth carers forum. I have been unwell with COVID for the past week, but due to my previous vaccinations the affect was not so horrible. If I did not have the previous vaccinations I am sure the COVID would have been 10 times worse. If you are caring for someone vulnerable please get the vaccination as you cannot always avoid catching the virus. It is good to have some form of protection rather than nothing.
Speakers for my February forum were
Kieran Quirke the Mental Health lead from Kings College NHS FT
Just a quick reminder, the aim of my carer forums is to allow unpaid carers who care for someone suffering mental ill health, get a chance to network and hear updates on what the services are doing for carers and for those using health & social care services. My carer groups cover half of London.
Megan Isherwood and Gosia Kaczmarczykfrom Southwark healthwatch presents
There have been a few changes over at Southwark Healthwatch and it had been a while since they attended the group and engage with unpaid carers. Megan who is the research and projects officer at Southwark Healtwatch gave us a quick introduction on some of their projects. Megan also let my group know how they could get involved with Southwark Healthwatch and their upcoming events.
Megan mentioned that there is a Healthwatch in every area of England, and they were created from the Health and Social Care Act of 2012. Healthwatch are a statutory organisation. Healthwatch are funded by the local authority that being Southwark council, but healthwatch Southwark are very much independent. Healthwatch Southwark hosted by community Southwark and has helped them to work closely with the voluntary community groups in the area of Southwark.
Basically Healthwatch Southwark want everyone who lives in the London Borough of Southwark to be able to access and receive the best possible health and care services appropriate for our diverse community. As a reminder Healthwatch Southwark are the independent champion for the patient voice.
So Healthwatch are here to represent the local community and make sure that services work for those in the borough of Southwark. So this means that they listen to local people about their health and social care needs and experiences. Healthwatch Southwark helps patients and service users voice their views and concerns in order to make services better and more suited to their needs. Healthwatch also have a signposting function. So they can provide advice and information helping people to navigate the very complicated health and social care system. Healthwatch knows that navigating the system can be a real maze, but as an extra form of empowerment they also promote patient involvement in shaping services.
This can mean helping people to get involved in health and social care decision making bodies and processes. Megan continued to talk about how their community engagement can lead to different ways for local people to have their say. Regarding generic experiences this can be both online and in person. Healthwatch also have the power to enter and view services, like GPS, hospitals care homes. Healthwatch can go in and observe them and find out the views of patients and staff.
Healthwatch Southwark connects with local voluntary and community organisations and work collaboratively with them. Healthwatch conducts research, and works on reports and give recommendations to health commissioners (Southwark CCG). Healthwatch also influences boards and committees particular the Southwark Council health and wellbeing board.
Healthwatch feeds into monitoring systems and consultations and they share these concerns with commissioners to make sure your voice is heard and to aid directly into influence change. Megan wanted to finish up her talk focusing on mental health, so she talked about their recent mental health services project. This was a recent report on the mental health services which is published their website site. It came about due to a workshop held in January, where lots of people attended, and there were representatives from South London & Maudsley hospital where they presented their formal response to the report. The report basically identified the key themes and areas that about unmet needs around SLaMs adult mental health community services provision where Healthwatch made recommendations to them on how to address these unmet needs.
The report involves carrying out a survey to find out people’s experiences of the services. Healthwatch focused on issues of access, waiting, suitability, impact and staff. So in the end Healthwatch received 81 responses, which was from service users and carers. The key findings were that the Southwark improving access to psychological therapies, which is IAPTs on if you’re talking therapies, and also the community mental health teams, which were the most used services, followed by crisis services, integrated psychological therapy teams and assessment and liaison services.
Since my carer forum tends to focus on wellbeing, the next section was from Gosia Kaczmarczyk who is Southwark Healthwatch Community Engagement Officer. Gosia did a wellbeing meditation session online for the group to experience. Gosia then went on to talk about the volunteering opportunities at Southwark Healthwatch.
Since Southwark Healthwatch do the enter and view programme. They are going to be working on induction training to train these representatives in the coming months. They will also be recruiting for community engagement.
Healthwatch will also recruit for committee health ambassadors where those interested can even become an advisory board member. Such opportunities can have an impact on how healthwatch do their work and what they are focusing on. It is like a really important part. Volunteers can also help guide healthwatch on their upcoming events.
Anna D’Agostinofrom Lambeth Healthwatch presents
After the talk and engagement from Healthwatch Southwark, it was now Healthwatch Lambeth’s turn to talk about what they do. Anna who is the Engagement Lead for Mental Health gave the carers an overview of what Healthwatch Lambeth does. Anna also reminder my forum that Healthwatch was established in 2013 as a charity, where each part in England has a HealthWatch. In fact there are around 150 Healthwatch organisation throughout England. Anna mentioned it was established to give the people a stronger voice on how health and social care services are really set up and in some cases challenge the way that they are actually run those services. This is why healthwatch really want to hear people voices.
Healthwatch contacts people, liaise with them and gather their feedback, and then they contact the providers to see how services can be improved.
As with what Healthwatch Southwark does. Healthwatch Lambeth does Enter and View – Where they visit commissioned services, interview service users and staff suggest how the service can improve. Healthwatch Lambeth also do Information & Signposting – they help people find the information & services they need and signpost them to organisations that can provide support.
Anna wanted to talk about a particular project Healthwatch Lambeth are currently running this is in regards to healthcare during the Pandemic.
Healthwatch Lambeth want to talk to people with mental health needs and their carers How easy or difficult was it for you to access healthcare? Did you get the support you needed? Where you offered an annual health check? Were you offered Covid-19 testing and/or the vaccine?
Kieran Quirke From Kings NHS trust presents
Kieran gave us a brief update from King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Kieran admitted that since the last time he came to the group, a lot of the projects have been put on hold because the Omicron virius (a varient of the corona virus). It is only in the last couple of weeks, things are starting to get back towards a state normality however one of the first things to mention is that visiting the hospital is now back to to visitors or patients across the majority of sites, which is an improvement.
Kieran mentioned that Kings NHS trust can hopefully start moving forward on some of the John’s campaign stuff, which I stalled during the pandemic where the dementia and delirium team are leading. Kieran mentioned two important things to mention updates where the first was the launch of their butterfly Cafe dementia group, which is due to start on the 8th of March in the afternoon, and they have got a venue for that where it is going to be held at the institute of psychiatry, They have got a room within the lounge area. Where that will be running monthly.
It’s free to attend. There’s no ability to provide transport, unfortunately, but there is wheelchair access and there will be some refreshments. It is also going to be supported by KINGs NHS volunteers alongside some of their community partners. All they need to do is email in advance to say they’re coming where there is a bit of a chance to plan for numbers that is needed to provide for.
Another update is joint working with Mosaic clubhouse, where they come in and engage with some of their medical patients. This project was unfortunately delayed because of the pandemic. So it has taken a little while to get it back up and running. They are looking to launch in March, although it is a pilot and will initially work with four wards being medical wards. If there is a patient with a mental health concern, that is within the psych liaison threshold, The ward can then refer to Mosaic Clubhouse and Mosaic will send to a member of staff and a service user who will come and visit and spend some time with the patient and talk them about signposting Community Services, and then potentially revisit if need be, it’ll be on the medical wards, so there’ll be probably quite short, brief interventions. But that’s another really positive development.
The last update is that they plan to develop a new carers policy. This is one of those projects, which has been suspended and suspended, but hopefully now they will start to get the wheels rolling underneath it. The final update is for Matthew to get involved in KINGS NHS carers day celebration.
This is my update for my Joint Southwark & Lambeth mental health carers forum for February
Welcome to another blog post by carer rep, author and poet Matthew McKenzie. I have just released another poem called “Being Part of it”. As an unpaid carer I was involved in many co-production and involvement meetings, especially to help shape Health & Social care services.
Having unpaid carers and service users become involved in shaping services will help provide services that have such stakeholders in mind. There has often been criticism of where professionals design services and those services do not work out well because the patients or families and carers were not involved in such design.
At those involvement meetings, I often thought how could I express my experiences to other unpaid carers and with this poem, I now have the method to share my experiences.
Welcome to the first Greenwich MH carers forum for January 2022. This is a forum aimed at unpaid carers in Greenwich to get engagement from their local mental health NHS trust, as well as Queen Elizabeth Hospital based in Woolwich and other providers of health & social care.
It might seem kind slow how I am updating my blog site, but I have been so busy working on my poetry. I am hoping to release my third book close the end of the year. It will be a book of poems regarding experiences of care, especially providing unpaid care for someone suffering mental illness.
Speakers for my Greenwich Mental Health carers forum were
Marcianne Coggins from Oxleas PALs and Complaints Jo Mant Oxleas NHS trust stakeholder lead
Jo Mant presents on engagement at Oxleas
It was requested that Oxleas Patient Advice & Liason engage with carers. There were some technical hitches, so PALs and Complaints had to engage with the forum in February. Jo Mant also attended and she was glad to see members she knew from many years ago.
Jo Mant talked about the opportunities for engagement within the NHS trust, because there are some new developments coming forward with involvement and the Oxleas involvement registry. Jo who is the stakeholder engagement lead at Oxleas NHS FT talked how people can have a voice within Oxleas. Jo talked about how Oxleas is a Foundation Trust, and all foundation trusts are accountable to local communities, and are accountable through membership. Oxleas have members who are members of the public that live in Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, or more widely in the rest of England, and they have some work to do with carer members. This means they are accountable to them. These members are invited to events and are also invited to have their say, to help Oxleas develop services.
Jo mentioned Oxleas used to have annual focus groups to sort of develop their strategic direction for the following year, that has shifted slightly when Oxleas started a piece of work just before the pandemic hit. Oxleas was trying to work on a big massive engagement program which will involve members, this being the public and carer’s groups to help shape a new strategy for the NHS trust.
Jo moved on to talk more about the membership, which is a great opportunity for carers to get involved with the NHS trust. Jo kindly shared the link of involvement and engagement oppertunities to our forum members, where she mentioned we can look at them after the meeting. Jo continued to mention that by becoming a member, you receive updates from Oxleas NHS FT and you will receive emails of involvement oppertunities and up to date news.
Jo finished up by talking about Oxleas NHS big priorities for their new five year strategy. One of them is around patient rights, and the other one is about creating great ‘out of hospital’ care to both Oxleas mental health agenda and also their physical community health agenda. Jo reminded us that Oxleas is a mental health and physical health community provider. So they have worked on a wide range of service perspectives in Greenwich and they’re different in each borough as in Bexley and Bromley. Oxleas Membership has been invited to focus groups, and that is to help Oxleas develop what that looks like what they’ve been particularly looking at at the moment. One query is how long people do have to wait for treatment, and what does it translate to put in place to help people to recover? As in what support do people need? Plus What information do people need?
The presentation showed what things Oxleas were testing out and are trying to co-produce regarding service improvements to take the NHS trust forward. The other project is about how Oxleas has been a great place to work, which is more of a staff focus. So lots of work around the trust providing great opportunities for people to get involved.
The other thing that’s being developed and gathering momentum is the involvement hub or an involvement register. The trust has been involved with register, it’s run by someone who is head of service user involvement. She’s also head of the lived experience Practitioner program for Oxleas. Plus she is also head of volunteering, which has got a very wide remit around engagement and involvement.
What Oxleas want is to see people join the involvement hub and people who are in that involvement register will receive training To help them undertake some roles, like a big part of Oxleas recruitment processes, but also they’ll be involved in workstreams to help co-produce work through to develop the strategic direction of the NHS trust.
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.