25 November - Mental Health Network - governance during the COVID-19 pandemic

26 November 2021

This week’s discussion covered mandating vaccines, learning disability services and innovating in the NHSE. GGI special advisor Professor Usman Khan led a discussion around the state of play of mental health providers in systems.

Overheard during the webinar:

“In our locality we have now lost 5% of the social care workforce [due to staff not being vaccinated], which equates to 400 staff, which has a big impact. Anecdotally, trusts are picking up some of these individuals, but there will be a similar issue in April 2022 when it becomes mandatory for NHS staff to be vaccinated.”

[During a discussion about BBC coverage of more than 100 people who have been detained for at least 20 years.] “There needs to be decisive action around this, as it is unacceptable that medically well people are detained in the wrong and restrictive settings. We are exploring employment in our trust, and we’re visiting NAViGO [a social enterprise providing mental health services] to see how they support individuals who use their services with employment opportunities.”

[During a discussion about ICS preparation] This feels like a dangerous time for mental health, with the recovery from COVID and political focus on reducing waiting lists clear to see. In my own ICS, there are acute trusts with enormous deficits, and the mental health trust is going to have to take its share of the hit to address the problem. I think we have to prepare for a difficult time ahead, but it forces us to be innovative and think deeply about maximising the resources we have (alongside lobbying for further.) Levels of engagement with systems vary; it is especially positive with one system, but the fundamentals are extremely difficult due to political pressures and deficit in acute trusts.”

“Regulation is changing and our BAF is really useful, and helps identify risk and clusters of shared risk. We have agreed to do joint board reporting across quality committees to understand how we are sharing risk. We don’t wait for permission to try innovative new approaches; it is just getting reassurance that it is within our risk framework and regulatory approach.”

“We are optimistic. We have improving relationship and status within both systems, and we’ve been offered the opportunity to be on the board in both systems, which will help keep the focus front and centre.”

These meetings are by invitation only. For further details, visit our events page.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions about these webinars, please contact: events@good-governance.org.uk