Category Archives: Lewisham BME Mental Health Carers Forum

Lewisham BAME MH Carer Forum August 2019

me_edited-1Welcome to another update from an unpaid carer who is involved in their local mental health trust and communities. I often try and engage with communities as much as possible, be it through running carer strategy groups, giving my views and engaging with events.

For the August Lewisham BAME Mental Health Carers forum, we focused on Patient Participation Groups and also updates from the South London and Maudsley Inpatient Social worker over at Lewisham hospital.

The Lewisham Black Asian Minority Ethnic Carers group is one of the 4 groups that not only focuses on carers, but makes a distinction on their background, culture and ethnicity.

BAME groups are more likely to experience stigma and distress due to cultural interpretations and systems set up or designed that does not take into account BAME communities. Lewisham is certainly one of the most diverse London boroughs around so it really helps that communities get together to discuss and educate each other on issues regarding health.

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The Lewisham BAME carers forums also accommodates those using services, but there still needs to be a drive to engage with more BAME carers who are very uncertain of their role and perhaps lack peer support and identity.

The carers forum runs from Lewisham, Bromley and Greenwich Mind under the Community Wellbeing umbrella.

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Lewisham Community Wellbeing is delivered in partnership with several other local charities and public sector organisations. We have been very lucky to get the support of Mind who probably have a lot on as it is and there will be some very exciting community projects coming up soon.

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We have around 45 to 50 doctor’s practices in Lewisham and I was fortunate enough to have the chair of one of the largest doctors practice in Lewisham. Alexandra Camies does an immense amount of work engaging with patients for the doctors practice she helps with. The doctors surgery is also a member of the National Association Of Patient Participation or N.A.P.P. I have always said to carers and patients that doctors are usually the gatekeeper to services, if you feel your doctors practice could do more for you or the community, perhaps look into how their Patient Participation group works.

So what is a PPG anyway? What do they do?

  • PPGs offer patients an opportunity to be involved with and support their local General Practice. For the South Lewisham Health Centre. Here are some of the following things that PPG involves.
  • Patients wishing to join must, in order to comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), complete an application form.
  • They currently have a committee of 8 patients, including aChair and Secretary.Committee members are provided with written details of their roles, responsibilities and key relationships.
  • They have the assistance of the surgery Patient Liaison Officer, who attends each meeting and provides us with any help needed at the surgery.
  • They have a GP representative (usually a partner), and the Patient Services Manager that attends the meeting.
  • All members are invited to general meeting, held quarterly, and asked if they have any agenda items to put forward for discussion.
  • Members that are unable to attend are able to have a virtual input via email. Virtual members are sent copies of the minutes, which are also placed on the practice web site for all to view.
  • Committee members take on a little more responsibility at the South Lewisham PPG, taking a part in organising events or projects, or helping with various admin tasks. Committee meetings take place as and when needed.
  • Members may be being asked to help out for such things as events.

Take note not all doctor’s surgeries are alike. Some do not have the resources to have a PPG, but it does not stop patients from helping set one up. I explained to the forum that your doctors surgery is only as good as the community that cares for it and uses it.

How can a success for Patient participation group operate?

  • The PPG should try monitor progress against objectives
  • Publicise their successes
  • Involve people and not that would mean patients, especially those whose voice is not often heard.
  • Learn from other groups, usually other PPGs hence the PPG Network.
  • Build on and work with their network of health and wellbeing groups and organisations.
  • Expand activity where possible
  • Make sure to review our objectives regularly

There are only a very small part of what a PPG doctors surgery should work towards. Alex gave the group an excellent presentation and we both learnt and picked up ideas from each other. I reminded the group that they could start their own projects and inquire about their local doctors patient participation group.

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If you want more information about South Lewisham GP Practice, check out their website below.

http://www.southlewishamgrouppractice.co.uk/

Next up was Errol Chambers who is the social work for the Lewisham Hospital Ladywell unit. It was great that SLaM engages with the BAME forum, because I have always stressed the the forum represents empowerment when we form as a group. If SLaM staff recognise this, then they can support us, although we try hard not to be antagonistic. Errol gave us a choice on what information the group would want be it on benefits or on how the Ladywell unit is operating currently. The group wanted updates on the ladywell unit and we discussed changes and progress regarding patients experience of the mental health unit.

Lewisham CCG was mentioned quite a lot as they invest in the services and are keen to see if the hospital is working to the best of its abilities. Many members pressed for a relationship with the units, but also felt that staff development must be key as a good quality service. This is mainly down to how staff engage with patients and their carers.

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At the end of the forum, I updated on the planning meeting for Lewisham CCG’s stakeholder event and also for Lewisham’s Carers conference requested by my MP Janet Daby who is a carer herself. I also pointed out that the Lewisham HR lead will be at the BAME forum for September. I have asked we are updated on the following.

BME staff engagement – What else is happening to engage with BAME community.

Plus small updates on the following.

  • SLaM’s Health and well-being strategy
  • SLaM’s Talent management programme
  • The South London Partnership collaboration (South west london & St georges, South London & Maudsley and Oxleas NHS Trust)

Plus an update on whats been done for staff to tackle.

  • Equal opportunity for career progression
  • Violence
  • Bullying & harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Stress
  • Flexible working

I guess as a carer, I do not ask for much. Still, I mentioned to the group…knowledge is power.

That is the August update for the Lewisham BAME MH carers forum.

Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU Forum July Update 2019

965946_fa217b70Welcome to the July 2019 update of the Lewisham BAME Mental Health carer forum. The forum is one of the 4 carer strategy forums I run in the community and has a focus on BAME carers and sometimes Service user issues. As a reminder, the London borough of Lewisham is a diverse community, with many health and wellbeing challanges, but also some successes.

Although it is good we have carer support groups, there must be a physical platform where families and unpaid carers can come together for empowerment purposes. Carers should have a right to have a say about Health and well-being services. For the July Lewisham BAME Carers mental health forum, I had to run it earlier in the month due to a meeting I have at the end of the month.

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Usually the forum would be packed, but a lot of members had sent apologies and this is one of the reasons I have blogged about the forum as a way to report back to members who can then feed into their networks.

Lewisham Police Mental Health Engagement

We were joined by Matthew Burns from the Metropolitan Police covering 3 London Boroughs. I believe there can be tension in the community with the police, especially with BAME patients who are not often happy to be brought in for treatment. It was a great opportunity for the community and the police to come together and learn from each other. I feel to have a police officer spend time to engage with us will lead to a great community focus.

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Matt mentioned there were a lot of things the police need to work on, especially on looking to reduce section 136 and section 135 across several south London boroughs. The police are funding officers for the mental health wards where Bexley House from Oxleas MH Trust and Ladywell Unit from SLaM MH Trust were mentioned. The police are under a lot of pressure on dealing with patients in crisis out in the community and one of their aims is to build relationships with the community of Greenwich, Bexley and Lewisham.

The police mental health engagement drive is to know and understand the services and groups that can help with mental well-being. During the question and answer session, there was talk about mental health and diversity training, which Matt will take back. One other important note, was during the forum we were joined by Lewisham CCG.

Matt mentioned the police are trying very hard with patients in a crisis but are not fond of enforcing sections unless it is absolutely necessary. Matt stated that the Crisis Cafe in the borough of Bexley took so much pressure off the police and felt we need something similar in Lewisham. Matt is very aware of the Crisis Cafe (Habour Cafe) at Lewisham hospital, but feels despite the great work the cafe does, that its service is still restrictive and the model must be more like Bexley to take the pressure off. The police are looking for certain services that can help patients their families and themselves, especially deescalation services, rather than sections.  There should be a serious discussion on the crisis cafes and a few other things.

There was more talk about the lack community resources from the members, plus discussions about peer groups and appropriate adults. In the end I felt we had learned a lot from Matt and felt reassured that we were working to tackling mental health and BAME challenges in the borough.

NHS Long Term Plan

Next up for the July Lewisham BAME carers/SU forum. We had Lewisham CCG engagement presenting the NHS Long term plan. We were made aware that 6 CCGs (Bromley CCG, Lewisham CCG, Bexley CCG, Lambeth CCG, Southwark CCG and Greenwich CCG) are merging and the date is for 1st of April 2020. There was a discussion about the Lewisham alliance and how many borough alliances need to be brought forward. There was a discussion on how the Long term plan would affect GP practices and how GP surgeries are not aligned to Lewisham’s neighbourhood structure, members of the group were wondering about the impact.

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There will be another Lewisham NHS long term plan event on Tuesday 16th of July at Laurence House. The event details are below.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/help-us-to-shape-the-future-of-the-nhs-in-lewisham-and-south-east-london-tickets-63638911698?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

Please also view the video on the NHS Long term plan

Going back to the forum, it was presented that the plan will develop Partnerships on integrating health, social care and providers within the 6 boroughs.

Plus it was presented on how a place based board in each of the 6 boroughs will work.

At these based boards, the members will consist of

A director – who is accountable to the local authority and CCG
Several GPs – working with other CCG GP members
Healthwatch Representation
A lay member as what we have with current CCG meetings
A Director of Public Health
Local authority officers

It was noted that the Carer forums will request engagement from those driving the NHS Long term plan and continued engagement from members of Placed boards.

Below is a timeline of part of the Long term Plan, but I am wondering if the timeline is flexible.

March 2019:

Governing Bodies agreed to develop proposals to create one south east London CCG as a step towards becoming an Integrated Care System (ICS).

March to May:

Inform stakeholder, staff and partners and get their views, which the carer forums are also interested in.

May to July:

Share and discuss our plans with patients and the public

September:

Proposals to merge considered by Governing Bodies
Application made to merge the south east London CCGs

April 2020:

Establish a single CCG with placed based boards in each part of south east London

As the forum chair, I was pleased with the engagement from Lewisham CCG who will be back again at the Lewisham MH carers forum, which I hold at Carers Lewisham.  I am wondering if the other CCGs engage with families and carers the same way, although I have had good results with Lambeth CCG and Southwark CCG,

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The last part of the forum was me updating the carer group on the funding initiatives for carers, which Lewisham council can bid for.  Some of the members gave their ideas to Lewisham CCG.

The next Lewisham BAME MH will probably run at Mind Greenwich, Lewisham and Bromely in August. I want to remind members of the BAME MH carer forum to update their networks.

 

 

Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU Forum September Update 2018

965946_fa217b70Here is the September update from the Lewisham BME carer/SU forum. This is one of the only carer forum, which Focuses on carers from the Black Minority Ethic Community, mainly Afro Carribean, but not strictly.

For this update we were fortunate to have the Lewisham HR lead for mental health staff attend and brief the forum. As a forum we did not know how much the HR lead has to do, which is quite a lot!! The fun runs from the Family Health Isis centre over in Lee.

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Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU Forum August Update 2018

Welcome to the latest update of the Lewisham BME MH carer/SU forum for august. This is the first time that the forum took place in the evening, so to allow other carer members Who cannot always attends during friday morning.

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For the August forum, we hoped to have the Mental Health Act officer attend and give a presentation regarding the Mental Health Act and how south London and Maudsley were going to adapt to the latest changes to the mental Health Act. Unfortunately he could not make it, so we decided to discuss south London and Maudsley carer strategy.

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Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU Forum June Update 2018

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Hello everyone, welcome to the latest update for the Lewisham BME mental health carers forum. This forum took place on the 29th of June over at Family Health Isis. This particular forum has been running since last summer 2017.

There has been changes at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation trusts structure where they are moving towards borough based services. The members of the forum were interested in how the changes would reflect on services. So the main aim of the forum that particular Friday was to try and discuss who the members would like to have engaged with on future forums.

The members of the forum were hoping that the mental health police lead for Lewisham would attend, however that has been moved to month of October. The members are interested to hear about the Mental Health Act and centralised place of safety, but emotions are strong regarding the recent death of Kevin Clark, who also was a member of Family Health Isis.

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Members was interested from hearing about how carer leads over at the Ladywell unit were engaging with families and carers. Members of the forum were wondering if there would be a carers lead in the borough. Others were interested too see if a medical director for Lewisham would engage with the forum.

One member is very active with Lewisham Mind and wants them to engage with the forum. There was a discussion on how Lewisham Mind works with the BME community. There was also a discussion regarding NHS staff morale within Lewisham so the forum would like to hear from HR this is because of the worry of bank staff not knowing what is going on.

Management from Family Health Isis would also like senior managers from lewisham CCG to engage with the forum, although they were happy that lewisham CCG is working hard with service users there should be some engagement for BME Family and carers.

The forum is pleased to hear that a carers support group will eventually take form over at the Ladywell unit in the coming months. This concludes the update from the Lewisham BME mental health carers forum.

Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU Forum May Update

Welcome back to a quick update on one of the mental health carer forums I chair. This particular forum involves unpaid BME carers and those using or have used the mental health system. This is the only forum which involves ethnicity at it’s core.

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Lewisham is a very diverse borough and there is a high rate of mental health representation amongst the afro/carribean population. The forum has been running since last year and we have made a lot of progress, especially through engagement.

The forum runs once a month, usually on a Friday. The main topic for the May BME forum was on the SLaM quality report on the “Quality Priority setting for 2018/19”. All 4 of the Mental Health forums had a chance to give feedback on the mental health services South London & Maudsley provides regarding quality improvement. Despite feedback having to be rushed, I am grateful that the board has given the forums opportunity to provide feedback.

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The report is an 8 page breakdown of where feedback is given in regards to improving quality of services at the trust. The BME MH forum meeting held on the 25th of May focused on page 7 of the report. I allowed each member of the forum to speak about how they felt was raised in the report.
– Quite a few had opinions about how medication could be improved and wondered how the forum would be updated on progress.

– It was mentioned that some people would not have time to read the report and it should have pictures, but I felt at least we can have a discussion about the report so members can hear other’s views who had read the report.

– A lot of the members felt it was very important that the board take the suggestion of including familes in services, especially on the ward. One member felt comforted that family visited them on the ward, because they had a difficult time with staff.

– Another member wanted more information booklets, since I had handed them the new carers handbook, the confidentiality handbook and they queried why they had not seen those before.

– Some members want engagement regarding what compliants and compliments are made across the trust

– Lastly a discussion was raised on the problem of training staff to be empathic, especially staff from BME backgrounds who still lack empathy towards BME service users. This requires more discussion.

The forum members look forward to the Police along with the Central Place of Safety attending the June forum, especially since there was concern due to the recent death in Catford.

One important note is the members wish to have a mental health act officer engage with them to understand not only the mental health act, but also how the trust will adopt any new changes to Mental Health Law.

Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU Forum April

Welcome to the April update of the Lewisham BME Mental Health Carer & Service User forum. I know it is a mouthful of a forum name, but I hope it explains fully the forums purpose. Out of all the 4 forums I participate in, this forum is specialised for BME members who often can face a double stigma of identity, neglect and mental health needs.

The forum runs once a month at Family Health ISIS, which is a charity that focuses specifically on African & Caribbean needs in the community. With lack of funding comes difficulty in outreach for those struggling with mental health needs. In fact on my way to the forum I found several unfortunately BME people on the streets clearing struggling with mental health needs and I often wonder what support or engagement they are getting.

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The forum had a good turn out because we have SLaM’s diversity lead explaining her role and engaging with the members of the forum. She told the members about what the trust aims to provide regarding BME members from across the 4 boroughs and listened to us on what works on our journey through psychological therapy and what does not work.

Some of the feedback was on race and Identity.
Problems in reinventing the wheel.
Tracing back issues via family tree structure.
Assessments not flagging up mental health needs in order to access services.
Increasing communication to GPs, Churches, Mosques and community groups.
How people need to be involved and sharing power with those wanting to shape services.

The members of the forum hope SLaM’s diversity lead comes back to work with us on tackling such issues.

During the forum, I was happy to see Lewisham CCG turn up and take notes since they were interested in what was going on. They will get back to me later, but I am happy they are becoming more involved.

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We also had a healthy eating session from Healthwatch Lewisham who spent a good hour speaking to members about what foods contain, how foods can be categorised and we also spent time making a healthy fruit kebab.

All of the food was provided by Lewisham Tesco, which helps organisations strengthen community spirit and involvement. The forum members appreciated healthwatch Lewisham’s healthy eating workshop and they have been very good in engaging with the BME forum.

This concludes the update for the Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU forum.