Category Archives: Event reviews

Reviews of events I have been to

We Coproduce forum update – November 2019

Welcome back to another forum update, although this is not one of the carer forums I do, but a forum i usually try and attend over in West London. Yes, it might seem a bit of a trip to travel from south East London to West London, but I have been attending the West London Collaborative forum for some time now.

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So why do I go all the way over there? To be honest, I am always interested in how mental health trusts engage with their communities, plus I am interested in how communities engage with the mental health services and commissioners. It helps if the community is very inviting and friendly and out of all the areas that have been welcoming and have a strong mental health presence seems to be West London community. The culture is different in regards to giving people a voice, but networking and finding strength in others is celebrated as many in society seem to find weaknesses in service users and those who support them.

A bit more about the WLC or known as “We Co-produce”.

Taken from their site “We Coproduce CIC” is an award winning social consultancy, owned and run by local people for people who care about the future of health care in the UK. They are commissioned to work with local communities to coproduce better and find braver solutions to health and social care challenges.

You can find more about them off their site https://www.wecoproduce.com/

The forum

The WLC forum took place at St Andrews Church on a cold Tuesday morning, the forums run once a month to cover the boroughs of Hounslow, Ealing and Hammersmith.

These are the borough West London NHS Trust covers, although the Mental Health trust covers a lot more areas including the famous Broadmoor hospital.

You can find out more on the West London MH Trust from the link below.

https://www.westlondon.nhs.uk/

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Who Presented the forum for that day

Usually when I attend, its Jane McGrath who facilitates the forum and has been doing so for a number of years. She is the CEO of “We Coproduce CIC”. Jane who has used the services of West London MH Trust places a strong emphasis on co-production and feels their should be an equal partnership being Patients, carers and health professionals.

Jane has a very high profile campaign, promoting and working towards the mental health of the community, although to my surprise Jane was away and we had two service user facilitators presenting the forum, which impressed me.

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Who Attended

The reason why I was impressed is that the running a forum can be very challenging at times, you just do not know how things will run for time, or who will kick off (this is more of a polite way of mental health discussions sometimes becoming emotional). I was not going to do much at the forum, but when I saw how well and professional the 2 new facilitators were doing, I had to blog the forum off the fly.

In attendance at the forum where many patients, some carers including myself, the West London NHS Recovery college lead and also peer trainer. We also had in attendance Deputy Director of Nursing who leads on the Triangle of Care at the trust, the WLMHT Chaplin and also Representatives from the Local Mind centre as well as Trainee Clinical Psychologist. So you can see the facilitators had their work cut out. Sometimes I even see Carolyn Regan who is the CEO of West London MH Trust attend the forum, she often is smiling and very approachable.

The Agenda

On the agenda for the November forum was the discussion on how the Critical Voices Conference went. The conference was a 2 day event over in Ireland from the Critical Voices Network. The conference was held at University College Cork, and members of the forum attended and fed back to the attendees.

The conference looks into how psychiatry and psychology affects the community and 2019 theme was on challenging mental health systems: critical perspectives from inside out and outside in. The Keynote speakers of the conference was :-

Alison Faulkner, independent survivor researcher.
Anne O’Donnell, community educator/activist.
Fiona Venner who is the Chief Executive of Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service.
Fionn Fitzpatrick, community development worker/ activist.
John Cromby who is the Professor of Psychology from University of Leicester.
Robert Whitaker, journalist, author of Anatomy of an Epidemic, founder of http://www.madinamerica.com.

We had a brilliant feedback discussion on what happened at the conference and a lot of talk was on Robert Whitaker’s view on the problem of anti-psychotics and the claim of measuring the chemical imbalances in people.

Robert Whitaker is author writing about medicine, science, and history. He has wrote five books, three of which cover the history or practice of modern psychiatry. The forum discussed the view on how psycho-therapy has been reduced as the medical model have taken over and the relationship between professional and patient has deteriorated.

Sally Gomme of the Wellbeing Network explained the issues with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and how so much emphassis was put on labelling mental health disorders and distancing people. It was not to say that medication does not work for everyone, after all we are all individuals, but the claim of measuring imbalances was to be challenged when it comes to mental health.

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The discussion went both ways as some service users felt medication worked for them and and even though the side affects were horrible, at least it gave some hope. While others felt the medication can be a mis-use of treatment. Clinical professionals felt their aim was to help people recover, but did admit more work need to be done on therapy and access to therapy.

What quotes stood out in representing mental health activism.

The Critical voices conferences was a 2 day event, so there was plenty of workshops, presentations and sessions in which WLC members attended. If you want to see how big the conference was, please see the link below.

https://www.ucc.ie/en/media/academic/nursing/2019images/newsimages19/newsdocuments/13and14november2019conferenceprogrammeoverview.pdf

The forum attendees was set a workshop on quotes describing the importance of critical voices.

 

Famous quotes were shown from Franz Fannon, Henry Girdux, Angelia Davis, Antonio Gramsei and more. I chatted with forum Co-Facilitator Hannah Mcdonald (A Nurse who is the Royal College of Nursing mental health activist).about the quotes and as a group all fed back as a group on what quotes stood out for us.

 

 

Trainee Clinical Psychologist research presentation

I often observe how psychology and psychiatry engages with the community as all fields including psychiatry and psychology continue to develop and should be researched. We were lucky to have a Trainee Clinical Psychologist updating the forum on her research. So it was not always about Service user voice or the carer voice, but what we can learn together from the Clinical perspective.

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Charlotte Martan the trainee clinical psychologist feed back the results of her research called “Implementation of a Service User and Carer feedback”. She talked to the group about Crisis Teams and getting feedback from those admitted to the Crisis house.

The outline of the project was

  • Rationale

How NHS England felt that listening to people who use or care about the NHS can help understand people’s health needs better.

  • Research Questions

The research looked at
1. Are patients and carers willing to provide feedback about their experience of the service following discharge?
2. How do service users and carers who access care from ECATT experience the service
3. What recommendations for improving service delivery and quality are offered by service users and carers?
4. Is it feasible to implement a feedback system in a crisis team setting?

  • Methodology

Using existing literature to draft service evaluation questions
present draft to staff in team meetings
Attend groups to get feedback

  • Feedback from Service Users

Where the WLC forum was updated on SU feedback

  • Feedback from carers

The WLC forum was updated on carer feedback. One thing that stood out was that the Mental Health trust’s patient database was not constantly updated with carer information, so it was hard for the researcher to find carers to get feedback. One of the attendees felt that the triangle of Care framework will counter this and will seek to improve carer identification and auditing.

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  • Recommendation for implementing a feedback system
  • Recommendation for service improvement
  • Comments and suggestions

Overall feedback from service users and carers was positive about the service, although there were some areas of dis-satisfaction, especially on some service provision and lack of consistency in care.

Summing up forum

I would like to thank the facilitators who were kind and were happy for me to help promote the forum for the day. I certainly enjoyed some of the food the forum offered attendees, plus one of the patients brought showed some of his art, which fell out from the notes he was taking. I just had to take a photo in which he was pleased to show his work and he even offered to sketch a picture of myself, but that is for next time.

 

 

My view is that all mental health trusts and communities have a different style of engagement, one way of engagement might not work in another area of the community, however when I travel to a part of London where there are no Service User/Carer forums and the voices are silent, I begin to get suspicious as one quote stuck out during this forum.

There’s really no such thing as the ‘Voiceless’. there are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.”

Thank you for stopping by.

Lewisham Mental health Stakeholder event 2019

imageWelcome to another blog from South London unpaid carer Matthew Mckenzie. On this particular blog, I am covering how the Lewisham Mental Health Stakeholder event went. Health Commissioner stakeholder events usually run once a year, these events are usually borough wide and incorporate the community regarding health interests.

The theme of the Lewisham CCG Mental Health Stakeholder event was on “Me and my community”. The theme was to help bring the community together to discuss, plan and celebrate how Lewisham as a whole are working towards the mental health and well-being of its community.

The event took place over at Lewisham Town Hall – Civic Suite from 9:30 am till 4:30 pm. If I remember correctly, the event takes ages to plan and I believe such a stakeholder event was not run in 2018. So the event was great received, due to many mental health service updates and changes in the community.

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The stakeholder event had many stalls from providers, workshops, sessions and talks and presentations. Those involved in the event were of course Lewisham CCG, Lewisham council, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (who provide MH services in the area), Lewisham Healthwatch, Bromley, Lewisham & Greenwich Mind, Compass (services for children), Lewisham Carers, Department for work & Pensions, Sydenham Gardens, GCDA, Lewisham college, Lewisham & Greenwich hospital trust and more.

To open the event, we had the welcome from Councilor James Rathbone, who is currently Lewisham’s Mental health Champion. Next was the Lewisham Mental Health Alliance with updates provided by Donna Hayward-Sussex – who is SLaM’s Service director and also Dr Charles Gosling who is the CCG’s senior clinical director.

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Since the event was themed for Black history month, plus the London borough of Lewisham being a diverse community, we have an update on health inequalities in the borough from Dr Catherine Mbema who is the Director of Public Health in Lewisham.

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Next up was CEO of Your Voice in Health and Social Care who have partnered with Carers Lewisham. Tim Spilsbury spoke about the difficulties unpaid carers face in the borough of Lewisham and how the charity is seeking to tackle those issues. To my surprise he spoke about the Triangle of Care, which is a policy aimed at buildng a working collaboration between the service user, professional and carer.

One thing critical about stakeholder events is giving the community a chance to ask questions or bring out statements, so I was glad to see a panel session consisting of those who spoke previously including the Joint commissioner of Adult Mental Health and Head of services for BLG-Mind. We certainly had some hard hitting challenging questions from the audience, although I felt some great work has been done by the services so it was a shame no one mentioned anything about that.

Next up after the 20 minute break and some networking were the Workshops. The aim of the workshops was to either educate the community on mental wellbeing, provide updates on services, a way to promote services and allow for stakeholders to connect with the community.

Prevention – This workshop looked at Social Prescribing (connecting people in their community)

5-ways to Wellbeing – This workshop taught by Lewisham Healthwatch looked into those who work with children and young people.

What is the Relationship between Mental Health and Internalised Racism? – This workshop taught by Hillna Fontaine, explored the complex issues of race and mental health.

Carers Workshop – This workshop co-produced by some of my members of the Lewisham Mental Health Carers forum and Carers Lewisham and myself.

Mental Health Equalities – What we know, our ideas and your suggestions – This workshop facilitated by SLaM equality team looked into what the Trust is doing to improve the experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) service users, carers and staff.

Social Inclusion Recover Services; Paths to Recovery at Sydenham Garden – On this workshop, we could find out more about Sydenham Garden’s work – helping people in their recovery from mental and physical ill-health in Lewisham.

Mental Health in Schools: Challenges and solutions – This workshop aims to explore mental and emotional health challenges faced in school environment.

Healthy Walk – An excellent workshop, were attendees found out about the greenspace, gentle exercise and good company are great for physical and mental wellbeing and were actually walking outside.

The Lewisham Wellbeing Map: showing the great places for health in our borough – This workshop looked into a social prescribing map for link workers, navigators, and signposters.

Help in a mental health crisis – A workshop taught by the manager of the Ladywell Unit looking at where you can access help in a crisis and what you can expect from services Alternatives to going to A&E

DWP – Forest Hill and Bromley Jobcentre – The Partnership Team and the Disability Employment Advisers provided people with an insight to what is available to support those with Disability and Mental Health under Universal Credit and Employment Support Allowance

Wellbeing Education at SLaM Recovery College – Lastly we Trainers from SLaM Recovery College will discuss how the college operates, the benefits of attending for SLaM service users, carers/supporters and staff members.

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A quick mention on the carers workshop I co-produced with members of the Lewisham MH carers forum, we looked at ways to involve unpaid mental health carers in the community as carers like myself can be isolated, lacking support and driven to desperation when supporting someone with mental ill health.

I cannot thank Lewisham CCG enough and also Carers Lewisham and YVIHSC for helping and attending.

All in all, I thought the event went very well with special thanks to Karin Barthel who is the senior CCG comissioner for involving myself and carers lewisham to run the workshop in co-production.

I hope other CCGs will continue to run stakeholder events, or I am wondering how do they engage with their communities when it comes to mental health and wellbeing.

Thanks for stopping by.

London Carers Festival 2019

IMG_20190921_133155Do you know that if you are a carer, then you are doing something not only for your ‘cared for’, but also for the community. Caring for someone when life can be difficult for yourself should be celebrated. Thats why London ADASS, which stands for Directors of Adult Social Services aimed to put on a festival for carers. The aim of London ADASS is to improve adult social care across London and to identify ways of doing this as cost-effectively as possible.

The festival was developed and brought together by many other carer organisations who help plan and run the festival. The first London borough to have the Carer’s festival was the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Eventually each London borough will have the honor of running the festival each year.

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World Suicide Prevention Day 2019

businessman sittingWorld Suicide Prevention Day is an awareness day observed on 10 September every year, in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides. World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD),  runs on the 10 September and is set by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). where the World Health Organisation also sponsor the day. The theme for 2019 is called Working Together to Prevent Suicide.

The WHO and IASP also work with governments and other partners to ensure that suicide is no longer stigmatized, criminalized or penalized.

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Service User Advocacy Exhibition

Thanks for stopping by at another carer blog post. I thought to quickly drum up a page on my latest visit to the Bethlem’s Museum of the mind. I was excited to be part of their new exhibition “Impatient! Stories of Service User Advocacy”.

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The exhibition which is over at the Bethlem Museum just inside the Bethlem Royal Hospital, celebrates the history of Service User advocacy. There is history on how the groups and organisations projected their causes and how they relate to psychiatry. I felt that sometimes when it comes to NHS exhibitions they tend to promote much of what has taken place in the hospitals, but showing what the community or inpatients have done, can give more of a holistic picture.

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Reform of the Mental Health Act Debate

parliamentI was recently invited to observe an important debate regarding the Mental Health Act review. The debate was held at Westminster Hall over in Parliament on the 25th of July 2019.   It must be only the second time I have visited Parliament and if some of my forum members was not there, I would have easily got lost.

I have to thank the Lewisham carer members for attending the debate, it was a lot to ask of them. I wanted to also ask the Lambeth carer members, but that forum was on the same morning and I had to cut my chairing of the forum short. One of the members from the Southwark carers forum wanted to attend, but was held up and I know she is very involved in the mental health act review.

Before I continue, what is the mental health act?

The Mental Health Act 1983 is an Act of the Parliament and it covers how people who are brought into mental health treatment. The MHA also covers the care of mentally unwell persons. There are cases when a person can be detained, also known as sectioned, under the Mental Health Act (1983) and treated without their agreement.

It is important to remember that under the Mental Health Act (MHA), you can be detained if Mental Health professionals think your mental health puts you or others at risk, and you need to be treated in a safe environment.

When someone mentally unwell ends up being detained, they have certain rights.

– They have the right to appeal, and the right to get help from an independent advocate.
– To have someone explain what happens to you and why.
– The right to ask questions on why you are detained.
– The right to confidentiality, although this can be a tricky area.
– The right to be involved in your care plan.

There are also many other rights including equality, but these and other rights can be saved for another blog.

Why was there a debate on the mental health act?

The area many reasons for the debate on the mental health act, the most common being that the times have changed and the mental health act 1983 needs to reflect the changing environment. There are also problems with the mental health act, and I mean big problems.

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The previous Prime Minister asked the Professor of Psychological Medicine at the IOPPN (Sir Simon Weesley) to review the Mental Health Act. There have been numerous challenging mental health cases that challenge the legislation of the mental health act. These cases are very tragic and have lead to many serious incidents and investigations. Some cases have had very long delayed investigations and many patients and their loved ones have suffered for it.

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National MH Nurses director forum – Building Resilience

D_BbtpdXYAEqkWdThanks for stopping by my blog-site. I thought to try and note down a lovely conference I was involved in as a guest speaker, but before I begin explaining more about the National directors nurses forum 2019. I want to pitch some ideas for any unpaid carer reading this blog post. Have you ever wondered what inspires team leaders on hospital wards? Have you wondered about how senior nurses inspire their staff? What makes nurses tick and how do they become more resilient in there roles?

As carers, I often try and get families and carers to become excited about the NHS. If not that, then try to inquire what the NHS is doing for you or what you can help the NHS in regards to promotion and co-production. We carers are unique in our roles and sometimes we stay silent and get on with it, but we should try use our voices to influence health services.

About the National MH Nurses director forum

I now want to talk about the forum which runs each year, I think the one for 2019 was the fourth of its kind. The NMHND forum aims to focus on leadership for mental health and learning disability nursing. It also wants to help spread best practice in mental health and learning disability nursing. It helps bring together those who work in the field of nursing to help raise the voices in regards to the pressures of nursing.

You can find out more about the National Mental Health Directors Forum (NMHND) off their site shown below.

https://mhforum.org.uk/

Plus you can find out about Directors of Nursing for the UK through the forum site.

https://mhforum.org.uk/trust-breakdown

The 2019 National MH Nurses Directors forum was held at Warwick University. I was impressed by the conference center and the facilities, which also had a bar, large canteen and many conference rooms. I was told Warwick University had many conference centers and as a carer guest speaker, I felt I was really spoilt since I was provided a room at the center, the Dinner, Breakfast and lunch was fantastic.

The theme of the 2019 NMHND forum was on “Building Resilience”, which was fitting due to the pressures the NHS is under. Plus if the NHS is facing large challenges, it will filter down from leaders, to senior staff and front line staff and guess what? The patient and carer will be next in line. So I was glad that the National MH Nurses forum raised the theme, but it was not moaning and groaning, we sought to find answers, solutions and inspirations into building resiliance. We do not want nurses to struggle and leave the profession.

About the Forum Chair and Organisers

To open the event we had Mel Coombs who is the Director of Nursing at Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. I felt comfortable with her chairing style and that put me at ease as I felt welcomed. I was fascinated by her inspirational story into the role of Nursing and felt she was ever so dedicated in her field, but more on that later.

You can find out more about Cambridge and Peterborough NHS trust and their board of directors below.

https://www.cpft.nhs.uk/about-us/board-of-directors.htm

I was also welcomed by Professor Hilary McCallion CBE and was shocked that she remembered me from when I spoke at South London and Maudsley carer conference almost 6 years ago.

If it was not for Hilary, I doubt I would be speaking at the Nurses forum that day and thank her for involving me at such a level. Prof Hilary is the Director of Nursing and Lead Nurses National forum, plus she is also a Trustee of Dementia UK and Bethlem Museum of the Mind, which I aim to get involved on Bethlem museum latest project soon, watch this space.

Last but certainly not least was Peter Hasler who I have known for a very long time and has inspired me to get involved at South London and Maudsley as a carer when I first started out learning more about the NHS. Peter has many roles, but he is the Forum Development Officer.

What happened throughout the day

After the welcome by the chair, I spoke about resilience as a Carer and the impact of mental health needs in the family. I spoke passionately and from the heart as I wish to lead by example when I want to raise the profile of families & carers in the NHS.

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My talk consisted of the importance of Carers being empowered to network
My background and the Triangle of Care, plus the Health Service Journal.
Carers Navigating the NHS
The need for support from nurses and also resilience of carers.

I hope my message was inspirational and I felt those who work within the NHS have families and patients in mind. I want to inspire nurses to join and avoid leaving the profession, especially in the mental health field, which is very challenging.

We then had Ruth May who Chief Nurse of NHS England speaking about “Nursing Resilience in delivering the NHS Long Term Plan”. I am looking forward to hearing more on how she can help educate us on the NHS Long term plan. She answered many challenging questions from the audience and I noticed she has her work cut out, but her passion and drive shows that she will make great progress.

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After the break Prof Hilary McCallion spoke about patient Observations on inpatient wards. As a carer, her talk was easy to understand and there was an interest in psychiatry as she provided many insights as to why patient observations in hospital mental health wards was so important.

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I admired her knowledge and energy and I felt jealous when someone in the audience got her the questions correct and won a box of chocolates.

After the lecture the forum split up into 3 work-group sessions. The first session was presented by Learning disability nurses Simon Jones and Alison Williamson from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust on PBS in Forensic Services.

You can find out more about Oxford NHS Trust below

https://www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/

The second Session was on Stepping Up via Resilience through the CQC, which was presentation by Amanda Griffiths and Jane Fullard from the Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Trust, which recently got an Outstanding ranking from the CQC on their mental health services.

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This was the session I joined, probably due to the CQC paying even more attention to the Triangle of Care and being active on twitter, plus engaging with my Carer strategy forums. Amanda and Jane spent a lot of time education myself and other trusts in the room, which an impressive presentation. As a side note, I met nurse from SLaM based in Lewisham who spoke kindly about my presentation. I was glad we had more SLaM staff at the forum and hope they will also continue to engage with the carer forums.

You can find out more about Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Trust below

https://www.hpft.nhs.uk/

The third and final session was on How do mental health practitioners understand & experience resilience which was presented by Simon Wharne of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. I have nothing but admiration for Sussex staff and their CEO Sam Allen who has supported my work for quite while and they are heavy advocates of Triangle of Care. I will never forget Sussex involving me as a carer at their event a while ago.

You can find more about Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

https://www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk/

After a tasty lunch at the conference center, I got the feeliing at ate too much and it made me sleepy, but I couldnt help myself as I networked with NHS staff from other trusts. There are going to be some exciting projects coming up soon.

The forum moved on to Resilience in your NHS Career Journey, were we got to hear personal stories from Mel Coombs, Christine Hutchinson who is the Nurse on Learning Disability at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and Francis Adzinku who is the Service Delivery Director at Oxleas NHS Foundation trust.

You can find out more about Lancashire and Oxleas below.

https://www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/

http://oxleas.nhs.uk/

I would like to give Special thanks to Warwick university and Radcliff conference center as I found the food, facilities and guest room excellent.

How I felt about the event.

I was delighted to be invited to participate in such an influencial nursing forum. If I did not blog on such a forum, it really would have been a missed opertunity. I felt the event was very well organised and kept to time.

I enjoyed the art work of the event done by Dr Pen Mendonca.  The art really summed up the day as words cannot always be the best representation of describing things.

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I hope to meet up again with Prof Hilary McCallion again over at SLaM and most of all I was impressed by the caring attitude of the audience making me feel welcomed as a carer among friends.

I would like to mention Lookout for my next blog which will be a video timeline of UK nursing throughout the ages.

Thank you for reading.

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