Friday, 19 May 2017

"I wasn't prepared for just how profound it would be" - my experience of a Schwartz round

I attended a Schwartz round last week as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.  I had some idea of what to expect but I wasn't prepared for just how profound an experience it would be. 

I was asked to join the panel, along with three other colleagues, to share our stories about when we have experienced a difficulty or pressure and how we came out the other side, linked to the theme of 'survive or thrive'.  

I can’t disclose the names of the people on the panel or their stories because Schwartz rounds are completely confidential sessions.  What I can say is that each person’s story was completely different but there was still something to relate to from each experience.  

This included feelings of parental guilt when balancing work and life, being overwhelmed by workload or expectations, dealing with a major incident and experiencing a crisis at home.  All of the stories were incredibly moving; I was taken aback by how every single one of us could relate to the notion of surviving or thriving, no matter what role or position, and this was felt by everyone in the room (around 40 staff members).  

It really was a powerful session and made me think more about my own mental wellbeing, as well as how we support staff across the Trust who are experiencing a difficult time at home or in work.  After all, we are all human and could do with reminding ourselves that work is just one part of who we are.

If you haven’t ever been to a Schwartz round before I really would recommend it.  You don’t have to be on the panel or participate in the discussion if you didn’t want to, you can still go and listen and hopefully learn something.  Teams and departments can also request a Schwartz round to address a particular theme or issue, just get in touch via: 

Staff wellbeing service 
The need for staff wellbeing services has been clearly identified across the Trust, with stress and mental health related staff sickness accounting for at least half of all occupational health referrals.  Last year, 115,882 working days were lost due to staff sickness! 

The staff wellbeing service was launched in September 2014 after the Trust decided to use our in-house expertise to deliver psychological therapies to staff, rather than outsourcing to an external provider. The aim was to deliver a completely confidential free service to all employees, offering a wide range of interventions to help support staff through mild to moderate psychological difficulties that were impacting on their functioning at work.

The service has proven to be a great success - 507 staff were seen during the first year, with 19% supported back in to work and 72% helped to remain in work.  The service now receives around 40 referrals on average each month. 

The Executive Directors have recently reviewed a business case to support the staff wellbeing service and based on the results, we were delighted to approve permanent funding to ensure it continues to provide vital mental health support to the workforce. 

If you want to know more about the staff wellbeing service, there is lots of information on the Trust intranet - you have to be on the network to access this link

Keith Walker
Executive Director of Operations

Thursday, 18 May 2017

New Chief Executive appointed

As staff will be aware, Pennine Care has been undertaking a recruitment process to select a new Chief Executive over the last few months.  I am now pleased to announce that Claire Molloy has been appointed to the position.  

Claire has been the Chief Executive of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for the last four years.  The trust provides mental health and community services across the county of Cumbria, employing 3,500 staff.  Prior to that she held the position of managing director at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and has worked within primary, community and acute settings. 

It is anticipated that Claire will start in post from September.  In the meantime the trust’s existing interim leadership arrangements will continue.  

Claire was selected due to her proven track record as a Chief Executive, particularly at a trust providing mental health and community care across a broad footprint.  During the process, she demonstrated extensive experience of building strong relationships with partners in order to improve patient care and is passionate about staff engagement to build a strong and motivated workforce.  

All of these attributes are very much in line with Pennine Care’s strategy and values and I am confident that she, along with the executive team, will provide the trust with strong leadership into the future.

The selection process was thorough, involving staff, stakeholder and patient panels, as well as a final interview.  The appointment was ratified by the trust’s Appointment and Remuneration Committee, before being approved finally by the Council of Governors.

Commenting on her appointment, Claire said: “I am very much looking forward to working with everyone at Pennine Care and building on the fantastic work that is already taking place across the trust.  I believe this will be best achieved by working collaboratively with staff, patients and partners within each town.  I understand there are many challenges facing the trust and wider health and social care system across Greater Manchester, so look forward to overcoming them together.”

Staff and stakeholders will continue to be provided with updates regarding Claire’s appointment, as well as progress towards recruiting a new Chair in preparation for my term coming to an end in October.  

Thank you for your continued hard work and commitment. 

John Schofield

Friday, 5 May 2017

My visit to the Bury Community Mental Health Team

I went to visit the Community Mental Health Team in Bury based at Humphrey House this week, it was a chance to learn more about what they do and understand the challenges they are facing.  

For those who don’t know, Community Mental Health Teams (often called CMHTs) support people living in the community who have complex or serious mental health problems.  This includes people with severe depression, anxiety, psychological difficulties and psychotic symptoms.  CMHTs are multi-disciplinary teams made up of mental health nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, support workers and consultant psychiatrists who work with the team.  

It was clear that the Bury team are incredibly committed to providing the best care they can to patients, but they are feeling the pressure of increasing caseloads and finding that patients have got more complex needs.  The team talked a little about how more service users are now using the illegal drug Spice, which seems to be a growing problem across Greater Manchester and has been widely reported in the Manchester Evening News recently.

Given that the clinical challenges are demanding enough, I formed the view that there is more that we can do to improve the working environment particularly in relation to medical records, IT and car parking.  I will be raising the issues at the next Executive Director team meeting with a view to prioritising better infrastructure support.

I just want to thank the team manager Dawn Parker and her team for giving up their time to meet with me and for their honesty in the challenges they are facing.   Their commitment to patients was clear to see and they have to make some really difficult decisions on a daily basis in order to keep people safe and manage the service effectively. 

The exec team will be conducting more visits around the trust on a regular basis and will share updates with staff via the blog. 

Thank you

Martin Roe, Chief Executive (Acting)

Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) 2017 runs from Monday 8 to Sunday 14 May.

It is a national campaign by the Mental Health Foundation. This year's theme is ‘surviving or thriving’, which aims to shift the focus away from mental ill-health to explore how you can thrive in life with good mental health.
Visit the Pennine Care website for lots more information on mental health.