A very interesting visit in my role as an NHS Trust Governor

As you maybe aware I am a governor for the local NHS Trust which provides the mental health services over 3 local boroughs. It is the NHS Trust for mental health services that I have received although at present I am not under them. I asked to visit all 3 of the trusts inpatient acute mental health units both for working age adults and for older people. This was actually quite a challenge considering that I have myself received treatment at one if them many times before.
I am pleased to say that I was on the whole very impressed and actually think that there have been great improvements since I was last an inpatient especially around care and compassion, ward rounds, communication and activities on the ward. There are obviously many challenges regarding bed management, shortage of beds, staffing, consistency of staff, bank staff, agency staff etc …but I was struck by the dedication of the staff that I met.
It seems to me that once someone gets into hospital things are in general improving but the biggest challenges and areas of concern locally to me lie within crisis care, accessing services for the first time or after a break, liaison in accident and emergency departments and gp’s, support on discharge etc… Whilst it is positive that patients spend less time in hospital I am concerned that they are discharged too quickly because of a lack of beds and that community services are not meeting their needs effectively.
I am therefore committed to keep crisis care at the top of my agenda as a governor and especially the liaison service in accident and emergency as I have experienced such poor examples of care here within the last year and it desperately needs a rethink.
I feel privileged to be a governor and to be able to visit the wards and talk with staff and patients about this very challenging and important area of care.

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