21 May 2020
NHS England’s Chair, Lord David Prior, visited St Charles Hospital in North Kensington on Wednesday 19 May.
He visited the Mental Health Unit to see how services had responded to the Covid pandemic.
Shown round by Dr Cornelius Kelly, the Trust Medical Director, Lord Prior was told of the Emergency Mental Health Assessment Centre, set up to divert those in mental distress or crisis from A&E (and something that has been so useful CNWL are likely to retain it).
Image 1 - Cate Latto, Service User Engagement Practitioner and One Community Lead, Claire Murdoch, Chief Executive, and National Mental Health Director NHSE/I, with Lord David Prior, Chair NHSE
Lord Prior also met staff who nursed people who had been hospitalised for a mental illness but who were also Covid positive. They spoke about the challenges of what for them was a new type of nursing care – specialists in mental illness but now also in infection control, PPE and health monitoring, crossing a traditional divide amongst nurses who usually specialise in one form of nursing or the other. This is very useful for the future too as the physical health of people with serious mental illness is a major factor in poor quality of life but also, and sadly, dying prematurely.
Dr Kelly said, “In the NHS we often say that nothing will be the same again; especially for those who lost family members to Covid and we had a staff member who died from Covid too. So it was good for staff to be able to show Lord Prior what has been achieved and the pride they felt. The other thing coming out of the crisis though is better ways of providing care and that’s a real legacy too.”
Lord Prior said, “I am truly humbled by how hard our mental health teams have worked during this terrible pandemic. The excellent work I have seen at Central and North West London is amazing, they are rightly proud of what they have achieved. Mental health is at the heart of the NHS’ plan for the future – and in these stressful and difficult times that is more important now, than ever.”
Dr Jasna Munjiza, Clinical Director for Mental Health Services in Kensington and Chelsea, Fatima Elguenuni, Community Lead Grenfell Health and Wellbeing Service, Ann Sheridan, Borough Director, Claire Murdoch, Chief Executive, and National Mental Health Director NHSE/I, Lord David Prior, Chair NHSE. Back to camera: Lee Byers – Inpatient Services Manager
Dr Jasna Munjiza, Clinical Director for Mental Health Services in Kensington and Chelsea and Samuel Opoku-Mensah, Ward Manager, Kershaw Ward Older Adults