Posted on: 8 February 2024

A new exchange programme has been launched in Milton Keynes, bringing together mental health and general nurses from CNWL’s TOPAS and Windsor Intermediate Care Unit (WICU) for a unique learning experience.

Fostering collaboration and understanding between different disciplines is crucial to providing effective patient care.

This programme aims to bridge the gap between these two nursing specialisations, providing participants with valuable insights into each other's roles and responsibilities.

By immersing themselves in different healthcare settings and gaining exposure to diverse patient populations, our nurses will develop a deeper appreciation for the interconnectedness of physical and mental wellbeing.


Brian is due to complete his rotation atTOPAS on 16 February and has really been enjoying his time on the unit.

Expanding horizons and enhancing skills

Mental health nurses from TOPAS, who specialise in providing care to older adults with mental health needs, will be gaining first-hand experience in general nursing practice.

This will allow them to develop a comprehensive understanding of patient needs and enhance their ability to provide holistic care.

General nurses from WICU, who provide care for people who need a period of rehabilitation, are delving into the realm of mental health nursing, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the unique considerations associated with caring for patients with mental health conditions.

This knowledge will equip them with the skills to better recognise and address mental health concerns in their daily practice.


As part of her TOPAS induction, Eugenia has completed a two-week placement on WICU. She was delighted to spend time on the unit and has learnt a tremendous amount and expanded her skills, which Eugenia hopes to implement in her role back on TOPAS.

Fostering collaboration and integrated care

The exchange programme is not just an educational endeavour; it’s also fostering a spirit of teamwork between TOPAS and WICU.

By working side-by-side, participants are developing a shared understanding of patient care pathways, enabling them to seamlessly integrate physical and mental health interventions.

We hope this will pave the way for more integrated care models, where mental health and physical health nurses work together as an interdisciplinary team to address the complex needs of patients.

The aim is to extend the programme beyond the participating nurses in Milton Keynes to wider CNWL divisions.

The programme was launched in January and our first two members of staff have taken part and provided feedback (see above). 

We’ll be using the data and feedback we have collected from the programme so that participants have the opportunity to embed their new skills into their workplace.