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Team of staff shortlisted for HSJ award

29 May 2015

A team of mental health staff at the trust has been shortlisted for a Health Service Journal (HSJ), Value Award. These prestigious, national awards recognise quality and efficiency in providing healthcare services.

The staff were nominated after they developed a mental health awareness training package for emergency staff, which is now being delivered for colleagues in the London Ambulance Service, and emergency departments. It is aimed at staff working in the emergency care pathway such paramedics, ambulance technicians, 999 control, and emergency department team members.

Dr Alice Ashby, consultant liaison psychiatrist at West London Mental Health Trust who led on this work says: “We want  every healthcare professional to respond safely and with compassion to anyone who presents with a mental health problem. We felt it was important to share our knowledge and expertise with other colleagues, which is what this training package is helping us to do.”

The project was led by West London Mental Health Trust, with help from Imperial College NHS Trust and London Ambulance Service, and funding from Health Education North West London.

The first phase of this project was to create professionally filmed and edited videos, using actors and real healthcare professionals, involving four different mental health emergencies. The stories were all created with the input of service users and carers with lived experience of mental illness. We filmed a wide range of conditions including anxiety, psychosis, self-harm and dementia.

The second phase of the project, which is currently underway, is to construct e-learning modules and face to face teaching around the scenarios, and to trial and evaluate these.

Staff caring for patients with mental health needs can find the situation challenging as symptoms of mental illness can vary from low motivation and confusion to anger and agitation.

Supporting staff to deal effectively with the range of symptoms patients experience during a mental health crisis helps improve patient care, staff wellbeing and team working while reducing the risk of staff injury and sickness absence.

Dr Ashby adds:  “I’m really proud that our collaboration to educate others has been recognised by the Health Service Journal and we’re looking forward to the awards ceremony in September.”