As Involvement Lead for SLaM adult mental health services in Croydon I work closely with the service-user run organisation, Hear Us. Their remit includes managing the Linkworkers who, under normal circumstances, go into our wards and community-team bases to talk with and support service users. Teams use the feedback to make improvements, often on the spot, and the Linkworkers are highly valued.
Working in partnership with Hear Us the Croydon & BDP Directorate developed a monthly advisory group where Linkworker Champions meet with senior management representatives to raise what is working well and areas for action in a more systematic and overarching way. The Linkworker Champions are people with lived experience who have had different journeys through SLaM. The advisory group meeting means working in a different way from their Linkworking roles, looking at the bigger picture, and engaging with senior managers as partners. The Champions are always completely professional, giving time to each other and to the SLaM representatives. The meeting has moved online during this time of social distancing but the Champions remain as committed and professional as ever.
The Champions focus on improving the patient experience, supported by Barbra Davison their manager. They are solution-focused and extremely tenacious. This supports the services to make needed improvements. Practical examples include having a reliable supply of bags for people to take medication away from community team bases, installing improved seating in reception areas, and getting a commitment to regular fresh air breaks for patients on the wards. The Champions share and escalate successes as well as difficulties, recognising good practice from clinical and support staff alike.
Hear Us also runs the popular monthly forum which offers services, including ours, a chance to engage with a wider group of service users and carers. This has proved a very helpful way of getting feedback on existing services and on plans for new or restructured ones.
I am very grateful to Hear Us for everything they do for people using mental health services and for all the support they give to me to be able to deliver in my role as Involvement Lead!
Jane Lyons – Involvement Lead for Croydon and Lewisham Adult Mental Health Services