Welcome to the connecting to patients and people who use services blog, where I and others will be sharing updates and conversations about the Department’s connecting programme.
The programme has been up and running for about three months now. Proud and emotional…these are two words I hear a lot from people who have started to connect to NHS and social care frontline services.
People tell me that they feel proud that we contribute to the system where people receive care and support. Emotional, because the connecting experience itself is can be an emotional one. I think everyone feels very privileged to be so welcomed into a range of organisations and even in peoples’ homes (on home visits), but most of all into the highs and lows of people’s lives. I think that everyone who goes out connecting will take away a memory that will always remain with them.
Sharing the learning
I always knew, well I hoped, that people would find the experience rewarding but I have wondered how people will use those experiences in their work back here in DH. Many folk have seen something directly that they feel they can alter, some have seen linkages that they can make, people that will help them….you will hear more about how we can bring connecting back in to our work in DH in the coming months…
I have been really lucky to visit most of our providers too – growing in number every week. I have also visited some of our ‘connectors’ during their time out connecting. Highlights for me have been too many to mention. One was Sir Bob Kerslake’s (Head of the Civil Service) visit to King’s College Hospital, London. We went through the A and E Department (code red echoing over the tannoy), where staff talked a lot about the increase in people with mental health conditions attending A and E. You can watch Sir Bob talking about DH's connecting initiative at King's College Hospital below. Then, later that week, Karen Wheeler (Director General, Information and Group Operations) and I went to North Essex Partnership University Foundation Trust, where we heard about their A and E liaison services and the issues from the mental health side.
So where to next with connecting?
We are filling up our connecting placements for the next few months, signing up more providers, rolling out our pre-connecting and debrief events for DH staff, starting some action learning sets and capturing people’s connecting experiences that take place outside of the programme i.e. what people are doing already. Importantly, we are planning for roll out of connecting across the whole of the department.
I am proud of DH’s connecting programme, of the care and support that most receive and I’m emotional when hearing the stories of both service users and our staff’s. And, as you may have guessed, I am enjoying this work tremendously!