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Three London mental health trusts join forces to boost nurse recruitment


A “mental health partnership” in the capital has been awarded funding for a nursing development programme.

The South London Mental Health Partnership has been awarded £800,000 by Health Education England in order to try to attract and recruit mental health nurses.

“By working together we will be able to make sure mental health services are sustainable”

Matthew Patrick

The funding will be used to help address mental health nurse recruitment and retention challenges across South London.

An NHS Employers survey, published in December 2015, found 18% of nurse posts in South London were vacant, and mental health community and inpatient posts were the most difficult to recruit to.

The partnership compromises South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.

The three trusts said they were committed to developing new roles, particularly for healthcare assistants, to help meet the needs of service users, as well as maximising their ability to recruit and retain newly qualified nurses.

They also said they recognised that other professions and branches of nursing might provide another resource that could help respond to these needs.

“We’ll have more impact if we join forces to try to meet the challenge head on”

Ben Travis

South West and St George’s chief executive David Bradley said the project was a “unique opportunity” to shape career development opportunities for nurses working in mental health on a “national basis”.

“Work is already underway within the three trusts to address the recruitment and retention challenge,” he said.

“By coming together to focus on innovation and sharing we will be better able to protect our services and improve the lives of hundreds and thousands of people who live with mental illness across south London,” he added.

South London and Maudsley chief executive Dr Matthew Patrick highlighted that the recruitment and retention of practitioners and nurses was “a very real challenge for our trusts”.

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust

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Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust

“I hope this programme will make a real difference, share learning, expertise and innovation to help us drive up quality,” he said. “Our organisations have much in common and by working together we will be able to make sure mental health services are sustainable.”

Oxleas chief executive Ben Travis added: “All trusts face the same challenge in trying to recruit and retain certain key staff. We’ll have more impact if we join forces to try to meet the challenge head on.”

The partnership, the first of its kind in the capital, is intended to bring together the clinical expertise of NHS staff to help identify areas of best practice that will be rolled out consistently across South London.

The trusts in the partnership have committed to combine resources to improve the effectiveness of services, streamline processes and reduce costs, while maintaining excellent patient care.


Readers' comments (5)

  • Pip assessments are being carried out by professionals who do not have the relevant knowledge to review a complex case people are loosing benefit event though they have provided detailed evidence over many years to people such as Atos also DWP direct prior to Capita. Local GP's who care for families for many years and know them to be genuine and hard working yet also in need of benefit for those unwell within their families are being ignored. Expert opinions are being ignored specialists such as psychiatrists experts who have carried out CT or MRI scans and reported such as Neurologists are discounted.
    In my home I have two people who have Epilepsy that has lead to acquired brain injury. I also have a bipolar sufferer. I work fulltime.
    When as ignored professionals will the nursing profession stand up with other specialists such as Psychiatrists also Neurologists and refuse to continue this madness with the government.
    If my husbands ESA is stopped he has already lost his DLA to PIP and his carers we will be £1000.00 down per month and may loose the family home that we have both worked for over many years.
    Claimants are often seen as people who have never worked despite depressive illness since adolescence my husband has worked for 30 years he also did not claim benefit until he absolutely had to do so.
    Now he is relapsing due to the impossible pressure of Capita and the DWP.
    Please watch week in week out why have my benefits been cut and recognise the nurse who admitted that the system is flawed and unjust.
    Local Gps and Local experts should review local families that they know well.
    Please refuse to cooperate with this system that treats all with false conclusions and assumes that 100% are false claimants.
    My Mp achieved an admission from the DWP that they had not treated my husbands claim correctly and that they are out of line with their own rules. Even with this it still isnt resolved.

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  • Mental health is an easy target when it comes to cutting benefits because of the idiots allowed to do assessments. A mental health patient can be fantastic one day, but someone very different the next yet we have the uneducated so called professionals like dentists doing assessments as in one of my clients cases, what does he know about mental health, psychosis and depression?

    It is time GP's were respected and their views valued, they are the folk that see the patient more often than anyone else, even psychiatrists, pretty useless folk at the best of times. Real doctors treat diseases, psychiatrists only treat symptoms!

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  • Unrestrict nurses salary and many people will come into the profession .

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  • The loss of nurses from the profession has been going on for quite a while and is not predominently a result of Brexit nor just simply rising costs. What Brexit has done if anything has shine a light back on a public view to how terrible NHS management is. The 1980's led the way in rubbish conservative sychophant management that were very weak with total quality management styles that failed and who led the way in destroying services. During the 1990's Blairite many management continued with the same weak management now classing themselves as strong leadership types. In the 2000's and beyond the cycle has began once more in building of even smaller patient units UK wide and destruction of larger ones with even less staff both community and hospital. The stop gap of agencies have been replaced with typical Tory capitalistic deskilling of nurses. Whether right or wrong they can no longer hide from how ill treated staff are and are desperate to use things like Brexit as a distraction. More and more staff leave because of weak managment and the same cost cutting approaches are used since the 1980s. They cant get staff because they cant change nor stand up for staff against government bodies like DoH and Jeremy Hunt himself.

    They are all living in a burst bubble on a downward spiral to deskilling and worse employee rights, which means the patient is at risk of suffering. NHS Management UK wide talk of not worshipping problems but by its very term of worshipping give away a poor mentality. Dilusional,dismissal and distant regard is what is helping destroy nursing.

    I watch those who have valid views different to senior NHS management be shouted down on social media by mob rule. And other academics on social media who cant take it and accuse and label - like throwing a dummy out of the pram. It is a sorry state of affairs but now people are speaking up and speaking out don't blame the messengers and have a little introspection.

    Lets not forget the drs recently and almost put the vote forward in a lack of faith in senior nursing management when the nurses should have 'if right' put forward themselves. A lack of staff isnt going to be resloved by money alone but maybe by getting rid of costly managers. Nor associate nurses where evidence of safer pracfice is minimal.

    Good day to you.

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  • The answer to the NHS I am sure is more simple than portrayed by the media and our politician, pumping lots of money in is not the solution. First you invest on the staff who are the main resources, I know first hand if you look after the workforce they will deliver and become more creative. Secondly cut down on middle- higher management and promote strong leadership at grass root level. Focus should always be around patient care and delivering high quality care. Reduced wastage around medicines and repeat prescription. Last but not least health promotion and prevention programmes.
    I come from a psychiatric nursing background and I am now a dementia nurse specialist and a prescriber. I am optimistic about the NHS and the people who deliver the care, during my 16yrs as a nurse I have seen in-experienced nurses climb up the ladder within two to three years of receiving their qualifications. I do feel this is damaging to the NHS, these people are the leading workforce and if they lack clinical experience how on earth would they be capable of making effective decisions that affects patient care. We need leadership with both academic and clinical background. My proposal would be before you become a manager you must have at least five years of clinical practice !

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