Tag Archives: NHS

Southwark MH Carers forum April 2020

matthewWelcome to the April update of the Southwark Mental Health Carers forum. Just a short intro about the forum. The forum is aimed at carers who care for someone with a mental illness. I obviously try to aim the forum at carers based in Southwark, but we often ask for engagement with MH, health services, commissioners and social services.

All my carer forums including carer peer support groups are run via Zoom due to the COVID-19 crisis.

For the April forum we were joined by carers from Lambeth who are interested to hear more about the Lambeth hospital consultation. Members of the forum also wanted to submit queries and questions regarding the hospital move. The forum was also joined by South London & Maudsley’s Quality improvement peer supporter Richard Morton who kindly networked with carers at the forum.

We were also joined by a rep with lived experience from Healthwatch Southwark who have taken a keen interest with the carer forums since the forums are usually designed to engage with health services. Alice has taken over from Bron who engaged with the Southwark carers forum in the past.

The forum also was attended by a representative from PohWER who are one of the largest providers of advocacy services in the UK.  They provide information, advice, support and advocacy to people who experience mental ill health. We also had SLaM’s carer lead for southwark inpatient wards, southwark carer peer  facilitator and advisor and also a trustee from Southwark Carers along with carers from Lambeth and also Southwark.

First we had an update concerning the mental health patient wards in Southwark from the Southwark carer inpatient lead.  It was noted that some wards are being used by patients infected with COVID-19.  No training can be carried out during this phase, but carer peer support groups are running weekly instead of monthly.  I queried about other carer groups running in the community and by Southwark Council.

Emma Crowe the director of the London communications agency along with collegue Matthew spoke to the joint forum about the consultation of Lambeth hospital. Members of the carers forum were taken through a presentation used by the scrtuny committees.

We where shown the following

1. Why Lambeth Hospital has been around a very long time, some of its wards are not sufficient for MH patients and visiting family members.
2. We were given a virtual tour of the proposed hospital site in Southwark.
3. An explanation and discussion of the new Douglas Bennett House
4. The consultation plan and consultation progress along with timeframes

Notable key issues with the Lambeth hospital wards are

  • Current structural design of the buildings are deemed not safe as they should be for treating MH patients.
  • Most bedrooms do not have their own en-suite bathrooms and there are not enough bathroom facilities.
  • Lines of sight for staff looking after patients are rather poor in order to keep service users safe.
  • A poor quality of working environment for staff
  • Out off all the Lambeth hospital wards, only one ward has unsupervised access to an outdoor area and fresh air.
  • The environment at Lambeth Hospital is very cramped for service users and staff.

The Proposed New Facility

I will mention some of the consultation presentation at April’s Southwark Carers forum. Some points of the proposed new facility looked at

consultation

How clinicians, service users and carers from a number of boroughs attended workshops to help shape the design of the Douglas Bennett House facility on the Maudsley Hospital site.

  • The facility would include 72 acute beds for Lambeth patients across four 18 bedded wards.
  • The wards would all be single gender, compliant with modern standards, be light and naturally ventilated with direct, unsupervised, access to outside space.
  • The facility would also include a Psychiatric intensive Care unit and a rehabilitation ward designed to support needs of these services.
  • Two national specialist wards, neuropsychaitry and eating disorders, would be transferred from Bethlem Hospital.

These are obviously just some of the benefits of the proposed facility, although there were plenty of chances for carer members to query about the proposed changes. In regards to the consultation (which runs from March 2020 to 31 May 2020), SLaM have already received a number of responses.

Still the consultation will use a large range of media services to engage with the community from Printed consultation documents, posters, online questionnaires, letter and email to working with partners to distribute information.

The SLaM consultation team were polite and thankful for engaging with the forum and I suspect they will be back later on during the Year.

Next up was Richard Morton who is in SLaM’s quality Improvement role looking to network and engage carers on involvement routes at the Mental Health trust. Richard spoke about the range of committees at the trust some of them mentioned was the family and carer committee and the quality improvement committee along with borough advisory groups.

Even though some involvement groups have been suspended due to the covid-19 situation, others have started to use video conferencing to still engage with Service users and carers.

involvement

The Southwark MH carer forum was taken through the “Inpatient care process model” on how patients are supported by SLaM through their care journey. This was kindly provided to the forum by the Southwark carer lead for inpatient wards.

Richard Morton will be back engaging carers at the forum in the future as he will update on how involvement at the trust is progressing.

This concludes the April update for the Southwark MH Carers forum.

Lewisham BAME MH Carer Forum April 2020

10177241_747738765268892_5890142387668348507_nWelcome to the April update of the Lewisham BAME Mental Health Carers forum. This is one of the four forums that I chair in South London. Out of the four forums, this group focuses on BAME carer developments in Health and social care. The group has been going since 3 years or so.  Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, I am running all forums via my own ZOOM account.

The invited speakers for April was Shilpa Ross who is a senior researcher at the Kings Fund policy team that works on a range of health and social care research programmes. Shilpa was invited to the forum to speak about her latest research that not enough progress has been made to address discrimination against black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff in the NHS.

Our other guest speakers was Sarah Atayero and Deji O BAME in Psychiatry and Psychology Network. Basically BIPPN is a network of Black and Minority Ethnic mental health professionals prioritizing and advancing ethnic representation within the mental health field, that being Psychiatry and Psychology.

Now although I mentioned before that the BAME carers forum focuses on BAME carer queries, I am very aware BAME awareness can suffer not only in the community, but also in the NHS and in education. So in this particular April forum i was hoping members can be aware that representation in all sectors in NHS is vitally important to reflect community values.

Shilpa Ross was first on the agenda where she firstly spoke about The Kings Fund, which is a charitable organisation working to improve health and care in England. The Kings fund was originally set up to raise money for London’s voluntary hospitals, but has evolved to do so much more.

logo

Shilpa then spoke about her past background projects which include emerging lessons from clinical commissioning groups and the future of HIV services in England. She also co-authored a number of publications for The King’s Fund, including Bringing together physical and mental health.

Discrimination regarding BAME groups is a serious issue and still unfortunately happens in the NHS, we have to look at what can be done to address the situation. One way is to report on current problem in the NHS. Data taken from the Workforce Race Equality Standard (which measures NHS Trusts against 9 standards) shows how the NHS is working to improve the situation, but unfortunately BAME staff still need equal access to career opportunities and receive fair treatment in the workplace.

Shilpa spoke more about WRES and also noted that it is worth listening to the Kings Fund podcast on Race equality in the NHS workforce.

Kings fund podcast on race and equality

The forum was shown some types of problems BAME staff experience in the NHS workforce being Bias in recruitment, lack of BAME representation at senior levels in the NHS, reported levels of discrimination are high for BAME staff, white staff more likely to agree on employer treating them fairly regarding career progression, BAME staff more likely referred to disciplinary process and other issues the BAME carer forum should be aware of. More info can be found on the NHS England and NHS improvement website

NHS equality reports

Shilpa updated us on her progress especially talking to experts in the NHS and academics who are tired of seeing little to no change at NHS Trusts. Members of the forum were interested to hear what research was being done to hear the experiences of BAME carers, but no research is being done as present although hopefully this could change in future and there may be some research being done elsewhere. I was shocked to hear that Shilpa had been challenged in the past on why she is researching only about race, but on reflecting back on BAME experiences it is sad to say I am not too surprised.

I did ask Shilpa if there were any NHS Trusts who did well or poorly regarding BAME representation and development and she did mention East London NHS Foundation Trust, but I have managed to find a NHS Trust update on at least the top 10 NHS trust for BAME representation at board level.  I hope more work can be done during this year and onwards to increase identity and representation.

BAME Boards

Most if not all members supported the work Shilpa is currently doing and I am especially interested in her report due out hopefully this summer.

Next up to engage with carers at the Lewisham BAME MH Carers forum was Sarah Atayero Managing Director at BIPP and Deji O. Sarah recently worked at Great Osmond Street Hospital on clinical research trials and now is heavily campaigning to have BAME clinical professionals access fields of psychology and psychiatry. BIPP have been running a series of events at Kings College London regarding BAME psychology and psychiatry development and engagement projects.

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Please check out their Linkedin page below to hear more about their events.

BIPP Link on events and updates

I was delighted to hear that BiPP wanted to hear from carers about how BiPP should go forwards in their events and engagement with BAME groups. I certainly will take them up on their offer especially anything done in collaboration. BiPP presented us more information on what they do and what events they have been holding at Kings College. One of the events being “Addressing Men’s Mental Health”, which attracted an audience of over 200 individuals from various institutions, including the Civil Service, NHS, British Psychological Society and Royal College of Psychiatrists.

BiPP also do a Mini Masters Programme on ‘Race, Racism and Mental Health: Diverse Models and Approaches to Psychiatry & Psychology’. Deji O who is also a managing director at BiPP spoke about the work he does in Forensics regarding youth and gang culture. Sarah mentioned BiPP is still new and although it has had many successes, it is still a year old and has not had time to engage in many BAME groups as of yet, but at least they can add the BAME carers forum as a link.

Still, BiPP hold panels which are hosted by psychiatrists, psychologists, students and service users at KCL. Still even though BiPP network aims are at those who host their events, they also include white audience due to trying to influence change rather than blame culture. BiPP was founded by Keisha York who studied in MSc in Organisational Psychiatry and Psychology at Kings College London. You can read more about BiPP from Keisha’s perspective in the Psychologist, which is a magazine from the British Psychology Society who BiPP also network with.

BPS report on BAME event

As noted by Shilpa earlier BiPP are aware that there is a under representation issue in the psychology and psychiatry field not only in the NHS, but also in education. This was proven via data shown to the carers forum, which is distressing to hear that there is an over representation of BAME service users in the MH services. BiPP want to provide insight into how BAME groups can access careers be it in the NHS or education in psychiatry and psychology. They hope to raise awareness and identity of BAME psychology out in the field, plus they want to explore the situation of racial issues in the NHS and education. Deji spoke more their past events and the outcome of running online feedback about the events.

There was many interesting and relevant questions from carer members of the forum especially on how BiPP can reach harder to access BAME groups. We hope to hear more from BiPP later on during the year.

This concludes the April update of the Lewisham BAME MH Carer forum.

Southwark MH Carers forum February 2020

Southwark MH Carer forum v2Welcome to a quick update from the Southwark Mental Health carers forum. I know I have not been blogging for around a month, but I have recently suffered a bereavement. It has taken a fair bit of energy to do much, but I am quite proud to be able to continue to run the forums even though I have to take time and look after myself.

Given the time I will eventually write more about the current situation, but for now I want to at least update carer members. On the February update of the MH carers forum for Southwark, we are able to get support and engaged with King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Guys and St Thomas NHS Trust and South London & Maudsley. For February King’s college hospital Mental Health Lead kindly attended the forum to speak to carers about Kings Mental Health strategy, which is still going through development.

Due to the nature of our forum carers focus on mental health services, although the core interest is how health and social care services engage and involve families and carers. We get a lot of support from the healthwatches and are constantly looking for support from the CCGs, but at the same time families and carers must get the chance to be updated by health providers.

The february Southwark MH carers forum has moved to the Maudsley site for now, although as of the blog, I am running the forum remotely.

Maudsley_Hospital_Main_Building

Going back to King’s College NHS Trust, their MH strategy is a Five year strategy for mental health. I felt it so important acute trusts not only focus on physical health, but also include mental health, which will be even more important because once the covid-19 situation moves on, there will be an immense strain on mental health for staff, patients and their families.

Kings_college_hosiptal_

Gavin Smith the MH lead of King’s NHS Trust explained that the strategy should take into account several things

  • Population need: High levels of mental health need, including mental health presentations at the Emergency Departments.
  • Outcomes and experience: People with a mental health condition have poorer health outcomes and experience.
  • Current range of service provision: Areas of excellence, but inconsistency of provision of mental health support across services and sites.
  • System working: Strong relationships with SLaM and Oxleas and KHP Mind & Body programme; opportunity for improved relationships with primary, community and voluntary sector.
  • Training and development: Distinct training programmes mean few staff have skills across mental and physical health; some bespoke training exists for staff and mental health training is available via KHP Mind & Body
  • Governance: Mental Health Board and Mental Health Lead post established but intermediate structures around mental health are inconsistent.

Out of these areas mentioned, the system working and governance stands out as important not only to the Southwark MH carer forum, but to all the other forums. It was expained to carer members that the accute trusts will co-produce many things with involved carer champions.

The forum was then presented with an update on how far Kings NHS Trust have been working with these outcomes.

Next we were presented with why mental health is important to the health sector

  • Mental health has an impact on people’s physical health, wellbeing and outcomes.
  • 30% of people with long-term physical health conditions also have a mental illness
  • Shockingly 15-20 years shorter life expectancy for someone with a severe mental illness or learning disability
  • It does not help that patients with mental health needs have a poorer experience of care due to stigma
  • There can be a lack of confidence and awareness of staff regarding mental health
  • It does not stop there as 8 Billion a year is spent by the NHS treating the effect of poor mental health on physical illnesses.

As you can see Kings NHS Trust has a clear interest into tackling mental health with what was raised to the forum. Of course more was mentioned in the presentation, but by focusing on meeting Kings NHS Trust patients’ mental and physical health needs, they will :-

  • Respond to the population needs and system priorities.
  • Improve access, outcomes, experience and safety.
  • improve the sustainability of their services

As presented at the Southwark MH carers forum, King’s operates within a complex landscape of mental health services in South London.

kings
Members of the forum were taken through a whirlwind tour of King’s services and how they seek to improve mental health provision on those services including

  • KCH services regarding SLaM and Oxleas.
  • Local Emergency and s136 services
  • Key acute and hospital-based services
  • Other specialist teams including – Drugs and Alcohol, Adolescent At-risk and Forensic Service (AAFS) and Forensic Services provide by SLaM.
  • Community services
  • Primary care – Being General practice and Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)
  • Voluntary and social care
  • Self-help – being IMPARTS resources, COMPASS (in Southwark), Wellbeing Hub & online Mycommunity Directory

It is important King’s engage with their staff on producing these outcomes, as they must engage with Core delivery partners and external stakeholders. King’s have engaged with the following of their staff.

  • Acute and emergency care
  • Gerontology/frailty
  • Liver specialist
  • Maternity – Took up a good discussion at the forum
  • Neurosciences – will be interested on their response
  • Paediatrics
  • Rheumatology
  • Corporate Nursing
  • Divisional Management Teams
  • Patient Outcomes
  • Public and Patient Engagement – should include families and carers
  • Research and Innovation
  • Workforce
  • Princess Royal University Hospital Transformation team
  • Strategy
  • Online survey to all KCH staff

Member of the Southwark MH carers forum were then presented with how King’s have explored areas of good practice and areas for improvement. Then we were presented with the strategic aim being that to continue to build on good practice, they will focus on their priority areas, and ensure the will consistently meet their patients’ mental and physical health needs. However King’s are well aware that their priorities must align with system priorities.

Kings have developed three priorities being

  • KHP Mind & Body priorities
  • NHS Long Term Plan priorities
  • SEL STP priorities

There are challenges to these aims being

  • The highest proportion of patients with a mental health condition recorded as primary at King’s is in A&E (27%).
  • The Emergency Department (ED) is frequently the default, but often an adverse, environment for people in crisis. Patients frequently spend over 12 hours in ED waiting for a mental health inpatient bed – the majority of our 12 hour breaches are for patients with a mental health condition.
  • There is a lack of mental health inpatient beds across South London, particularly CAMHS beds.
  • Patient feedback highlights positive experiences, as well as challenges including instances of stigma and lack of awareness, lack of confidence in adequately signposting or supporting patients with mental health needs, and long waits in a busy environment.

Nevertheless the forum was presented with how King’s will meet those challenges.

I am thankful for King’s engagement with carer members of the forum all of the members are more than happy to see how the MH strategy works out. A further update of the Soutwark Mental Health carer forum is we were presented with South London & maudsley’s involvement register into improving services and a way for the forum to engage with SLaM staff on familiy and carer engagment at the trust.

The forum seeks to work with SLaM’s family and carer committee when issues arise, although due to covid-19 SLaM’s involvement is on hold, but engagement will still continue with use of technology. For the March Southwark MH carers forum Guys & St Thomas NHS Trust presented their mental Health strategy.

I am as of present continuing to run 3 carer forums remotely and run the Greenwich carer peer support group remotely. This concludes the update for the Southwark MH carers forum with thanks to Kings NHS trust and SLaM.

Caring through the CoronaVirus

Corona VirusThanks for dropping by my carers blog post. This site raises awareness of unpaid carers and mental health. As of this blog post I am caring for someone close and just coping the best I can, while keeping a close eye on events. As of the title, this blog post is about the Corona virus and its implication to carers like myself and those in the community.

If you have been following my tweets on twitter, I have been posting that carers need to take care of themselves. Sometimes I have done a blog post about carer wellbeing and sometimes I will do a video blog or podcast.

Feel free to listen to a podcast on looking after yourself as a carer.


For carer health and wellbeing, it is now a vital challenge that carers must take care during the corona virus, not just for their own health, but also for those who they are caring for be it someone with Mental illness, physical health problems or an older adult.

A brief about the CoronaVirus

If you are still unsure what all the fuss is about. What is the Corona Virus or COVID-19?

The Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. It has spread all around the world causing many to become unwell and causing many deaths. You might think that the corona virus is just a health risk, but it is much more than that as it poses an extreme challenge to the economy, functioning of society, trust in others and the community. The corona virus unfortunately has hit via a perfect storm of the flu season where the vulnerable are most at risk.

Still it is not all bad news as if you have a strong immune system or are under 60, most people recover depending on the symptoms. The big problem is carers are caring for those who are usually in the other category and it is a big concern for many carers across the globe. Many in the UK are concerned how governments are fighting the virus, especially in the UK

Carer concerns

Focusing on the UK at the time of this blog post. The government is moving from the ‘Contain phase’ to the ‘Delay phase’ due to the number of Corona virus cases appearing in the country. From what I understand, many experts feel the virus cannot be stopped anymore and that we must now slow the spread of the virus. If a person becomes infected, when they isolate themselves and recover, they become immune to the virus and thus cannot spread the virus to others in the community.

Blood pressure measuring

The aim of the strategy called ‘herd Immunity’ is that eventually much of the population will be immune to the virus. There are big gains with this strategy as the nature of the virus can behave this way, but there are also big risks and gambles. For ‘Herd Immunity’ to work, means that the virus needs to target those who can easily recover and thus the vulnerable can be kept safe. The other aim is to reduce pressure on the health services so those who can recover just isolate themselves while the vulnerable can use the health services.

When many unpaid carers heard the statement from the government about slowing the spread of the virus, there were many concerns because not one carer would want to be infected and bring the infection to those who they are caring for, because it could be a death sentence for the caree.

Many carers would prefer more emphasis on the government to focus on stopping the virus on spreading, but again there is a trade off because that could mean disruption of services, closing schools, lock downs and disruptions across the board. All this of course probably will come about, but the government would want disruption to be minimal, but at what cost?

What is happening for carers during the epidemic

Carers Trust and Carers UK both national charities campaigning for carers also have concerns and have issued a joint statement. From what I understand, the core of the statement is that Carers will come under severe pressure from the current climate. As if unpaid carers were not struggling already.

The Joint statement is aimed at Carers and also those who make important decisions regarding health and social care.

From the joint statement, the information that i focused on was the importance that Services must be in place for the following situations especially during the epidemic.

Other important concerns raised by the joint statement is about The role of mental health services. Please read the joint statement below.

Click to access Covid-19_Joint_Statement_one.pdf

My views on the current challenges for carers

As if carers were not struggling enough already, even more will be asked of them. The whole situation is not even any carers fault as they are only doing what the community asks of them. To provide care and support for those close to them.

Never before have carers needed to focus on their own health needs because the ‘cared for’ will unfortunately suffer due to health and social services will come under more strain.

hands

The current climate will test communities to their limit and will cause major heartbreak and unfortunately many will lose their loved ones to the virus.

As a carer, I will do my best to let other carers know about their duties, but no more will it be just about caring, but understanding what the virus is and how it will change things. It will request carers understand what has changed in health services, using your voice as a carer to request support needs. Of course I will continue to run my forums remotely and network with carers who become isolated.

Us carers must come together, be counted and look out not only for who we care for, but also other carers. The challenges are only just beginning and it will be a long one.

To follow up on understanding the virus and what you need to do.  Please check out the following sites.

NHS -Coronavirus (COVID-19) Overview

Coronavirus (COVID-19): UK government response

Good luck on your caring Journey

Lambeth MH Carers Forum update February 2020

20140710_143445Here is the update from the Lambeth Mental Health carers forum. The forum is run over at Brixton 336 building hosted by Lambeth Carers Hub.

Carers’ Hub Lambeth is an independent local charity based in Brixton. They offer advice, information, emotional support, signposting, peer support groups and events to unpaid carers of Lambeth. I often attend their MH carers support groups. Without Lambeth carers hub, many carers in the borough would feel isolated, abandoned and having to cope through a crisis.

The Lambeth MH carers forum aim is to bring Mental Health carers together to inform, educate, offer some form of empowerment in their role to engage with health and social care services.

The main agenda for February was engagement due to worrying concerns about the closure of Lambeth hospital. Some carers are fine that some action will be taken by SLaM (South London & Maudsley), because they feel some wards on the hospital are not fit for purpose. Other carers are not sure what is going on and are happy to attend in order to be informed and feel part of the discussion.

Lambeth_main

Some carers from the Southwark area are worried development will further reduce needed space to access services. There are many reasons why unpaid carers need some form of engagement, so we hope the forum can offer some dedicated insight that SLaM takes the views of families and carers seriously.

We had hoped the Service director for Lambeth Hospital would be free to engage with us, but he was unable to make it, although members had a very lengthy and informative discussion about the consultation process regarding Lambeth hospital.

The forum also is awaiting a visit from Kings college hospital NHS trust MH lead regarding the trusts Mental Health Strategy. I have noticed many Acute NHS trusts developing mental health strategies, but members are worrying if there is consultation with carers in the boroughs regarding established forums and groups.

Gavin Smith the MH lead for Kings College hospital could not make both carer forums, but he did manage to attend the Southwark MH carer forum the next day, which was brilliant and showed how much dedication he has in putting mental health at the heart of the NHS trust. I will report the Southwark MH carers forum update soon.

King's_College_Hospital1

The Lambeth MH carers forum was kindly co-chaired by myself and another carer who is learning more about the NHS, mental health services and the obligation of social care services. She presented the minutes from the last forum very well.

The carers forum discussed carer awareness at GP centers in the borough of Lambeth and if carer registers are kept up to date, or even if GP surgeries have them, we hope there is engagement from Lambeth Carers Hub towards GP practices in Lambeth.

We also discussed the mental health strategy from Guys and St Thomas NHS Trust as that trust is very busy linking with both the Lambeth and Southwark MH carer forums. There has been some great news as both trusts are inviting carers to involvement in order to raise carer voices even more. I am very impressed with both Kings and GSTT NHS trusts as they have made it clear to work in partnership with the community.

Both NHS trusts MH strategies and Carer strategies will take some reading, but at least there is some way to hold the trusts to account as members get worried if no plan of action is in place or if there are no policies.

Guys and St Thomas NHS Trust are back again over at the Southwark MH carers forum later this year. The forum also discussed updates on Lambeth Healthwatch questionnaire, which I believe is still in development.

I also updated the forum on my plans for the other forums I do and hope other carers have a chance to get educated on the complex system of MH care, health care along with the duties of social care. Plus I updated the forum on CarersUK developments with their new ‘Learning for living’ app and their ‘State of care’ Survey.

CarersUK_Logo_Lnd_CMYK_Pos

This concludes the February update for the Lambeth MH carers forum.

Lewisham MH Carers forum February 2020

133Hello fellow reader. Welcome to the February edition of the Lewisham Mental Health carers forum. Each of the 4 MH carer forums I run focus on mental health service engagement for MH carers. The forums also seek engagement, updates and involvement from other parties, but usually mental health services come first.

For the Lewisham forum with thanks to SLaM’s public and patient engagement lead for Lewisham & Croydon, we were delighted to have in attendance SLaM’s Lewisham Quality Improvement clinical Nurse.

I also presented the new Carers UK online application to the members and shared this on our Carers Whatsapp group.  If you are a carer and are interested in boosting your skills.  Please check out the following link.

https://www.learning4living.org/login/index.php

I also shared the Carers UK State of Caring online Survey, which you can also fill out below

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/C8KH7CY

Going back to SLaM QI  I can almost hear the following.

What is Quality Improvement I hear you ask?

There has been a drive at mental health trusts to strengthen services through quality engagement and indicators. The quality improvement drive has unfortunately come from reports due to serious incidents in the past, but it has led to action and families and carers need to know more about NHS Trusts QI.

IMG_20200225_133043

Emma Jones who is the SLaM QI clinical Nurse spoke to us about the importance of QI. She spoke about the recent visit from NHS England querying the trust on involvement and co-production. From what I remember, SLaM were good in some areas, but struggled in others. Emma admitted there was still a long way to go.

We were shown a video which can be viewed below.

I felt the video was very good and certainly set the agenda for a good discussion.

The forum felt more carers need to be involved on SLaM’s carers register and more carers need to be involved on SLaM’s projects. The Lewisham MH forum await the focus groups QI are planning. There was a lot of discussion on SLAM’s changing lives strategy.

The core components of the Strategy are

  • Quality – SLaM will get the basics right in every contact and keep improving what matters to services users.
  • Partnership – SLaM will work together with service users, their support networks and whole populations to realise their potential.
  • A great place to work – SLaM will value, support and develop our leaders, managers and staff.
  • Innovation – SLaM will strive to be at the forefront of what is possible, exploiting our unique strengths in research and development, with everyone involved and learning.
  • Value – SLaM will make the best use of our assets, resources, relationships and reputation to support best quality outcomes.

The forum fed back on if the changing lives strategy has a space for carers and was not keen on the word ‘support networks’, although they agreed the word could stay, but certainly wanted the word ‘family and carer’ to be added. The view is even carers are also users of services not as patients but what SLaM can provide.

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There were also talk about other words as in the word ‘Huddle’, which is an american term for taking action and planning strategy instead of consulting.

There was more discussion on Carer & Service User Involvement in QI

Where the forum was presented on how SLaM QI in Lewisham or overall were engaging with those off the Involvement Register. The following was presented.

  • How the Inpatient Care process Model works – A Lewisham Pilot.
  • How each acute ward eventually had a 1 hour group every 2 weeks.
  • How to get patient involvement/feedback.
  • Positive & constructive Feedback from persons supporting group.
  • Pointing out that patients change ideas do make a difference.
  • How patients feel listened to, more informed of what to expect & given feedback from actions.
  • Moving Forward: Each Ward to take ownership of group with IR.

Again the forum pressed QI for carer focus and involvement, however the good thing is that SLaM QI were there to listen. Near the end of the talk, the forum discussed SLaM’s patient discharge follow up regarding SLaM’s suicide policy and touched on the QI projects each ward was working on. A lot of projects were focused on patiet flow, but some looked at the patient and carer experience.

All in all, I was happy that Emma from Lewisham SLaM QI attended, even though she was pregnant I felt this showed dedication to her role and set an example to engaging with carers. I shared the forum notes with carer members to 2 other forums in the hope those members can query Quality Improvement in other SLaM boroughs.

Next up was Carers Lewisham new support worker who has a vast amount of Mental Health knowledge.  He updated the forum on some new groups that Carers Lewisham is running and we look forward to working with him and Carers Lewisham.

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This concludes the update for February Lewisham MH carers forum.

Lewisham MH Carers forum January 2020

133Welcome to the first Lewisham Mental Health carer forum of the year. Before I do a brief update of how the forum went, I must say thank you to Carers Lewisham for hosting the forum for almost 6 years. As a carer I often mention to fellow carers that we must support our carer centres. Without carer centers then it is harder to keep the profile of carers at local and community level. Carers need that safe space, access to activities and a place for support. I am aware that so many carer centers are struggling due to lack funds, staff and resources, but my respect for the ones that keep fighting for carers will continue.

As a reminder the Lewisham MH carer forum works to give carers a chance to find out what the mental health and social services are doing for them in the community. The Lewisham MH carer forum is carer led, which serves as a message of empowerment, I always try to make sure families and carers understand the importance of inclusion, empowerment and a chance at co-production, which should be at the heart of Health and social care.

If someone is making decisions that affects patients and their families then they must include those views, if they cannot include those views then they must present what they are doing. Failure to include, co-produce or present health and social care changes leaves the community being distrustful and avoiding to engage with services.

This is precisely why we had SLaM’s involvement lead for the boroughs of Croydon and Lewisham attend to update the members on how things are getting along for involvement. Members of course were interested on the involvement updates regarding carers.

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Jane Lyon who is SLaM’s involvement lead for Lewisham and Croydon updated us on how services in the community were progressing, she unfortunately had to miss the new Lewisham Mental Health Alliance lunch in order to attend the forum, but we were glad that she sent 2 advisory group members to attend the event.

A lot of discussion centered on the Ladywell unit as we also had Eunice Adeshokan in attendance. Eunice is the modern matron for the inpatient wards at Ladywell Unit. I have known Eunice for more around 8 years or more so it will be interesting to see what developments will take place on the wards.

Eunice took the time to explain to carer members of her role and how the profile of families and carers will be raised at the MH wards. She also updated the forum of the special Carers Champion event and how carer leads on the wards across the trust are working in line with trust carers policies and strategies.

There was a discussion about SLaM PALs (a way to complain, compliment or query), since members wanted to know how carers will have the confidence to ask questions regarding the cared for. There will be work to see how staff deal with carers on the wards. One important start is that myself and another carer will visit the wards to check what is standing out for families & carers as I raised something regarding information at one of the wards.

In the meantime, I also raised the query of when the Lewisham and Croydon Staff Carer leads meeting will start up again, however we are waiting to see if staff can take on specific roles for the groups again, it could be the Lead Occupational therapists.

The second half of the Lewisham MH carers forum focuses on the NHS Trusts draft carers strategy. This is something that could not possibly be discussed at a peer support group as members need to have an interest of NHS carer engagement. It takes quite a while to get carers to have an interest of trust strategy and policies and a longer time for them to query it. The problem is the nature of NHS services can say one thing and do another.

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So we are glad that South London & Maudsley is working with carers to query their strategy, because strategies can be used to hold services to account or at least let interested carers know what the Mental health NHS is doing.

I went through the 7-page strategy with carers and spoke about what carers should have a special interest in.

The following important points of the strategy were discussed

  • The Care Act.
  • What is the Trust’s Changing Lives Strategy, Think Family Strategy and the Trust’s Quality priorities.
  • The importance of the Triangle of Care initiative.
  • Understanding the MH NHS Trusts Carer’s Charter
  • Using the trust’s view of what is a carer – in case someone is told that they are not a carer.
  • Querying number of carers since the draft points this out as a challenge.
  • The importance of diversity and how it relates to the Lewisham BAME MH carer forum priorities.
  • The trusts strategy aims
  • Explaining the trusts priorities
  • How the trust will Increase the number of Carer Champions on wards and in community teams
  • How the NHS trust will support the health and wellbeing of carers (A major challenge).
  • I was glad to see in the draft that the trust is looking to go forward and register in the Triangle of Care membership scheme. This of course will take some work and will be something a trust representative can take to the regional ToC meeting to be held at Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust.

I would like to thank Carer’s Greenwich for also attending the Lewisham MH carers forum as I am working to set another carer forum for the borough of Greenwich where Oxleas MH NHS trust can engage with carers at community level.

In the meantime I have set up 2 carer led peer support groups for the borough of Greenwich in order to build a carer base.

This concludes the update for the Lewisham MH carers forum.