9 December - Mental Health Network webinar – governance during the COVID-19 pandemic

10 December 2021

Overheard during the webinar:

“There is a lack of beds, and a number of mental health patients cared for in local acute hospitals in our region. This includes very unwell young people with eating disorders on an acute ward for a long period, but there are no specialist beds available. We have a number of closed CAMHs beds due to a range of CQC issues, and likely guidance coming asking providers to move people on from beds given a potential Covid wave. It feels like a perfect storm.”

“We took over responsibility commissioning residential care, with two of the homes being given notice they are being closed down. It’s unclear how long they have to wrap up services, but it is very difficult to find places for 50 people in two weeks. The closures are primarily due to staff shortages and quality issues related to this.”

“The pressure on beds is high, but just before the pandemic we were considering a hospital at home style service, which we trialled during the pandemic. It has proved popular with patients and is achieving outcomes. There is a new approach which is around the system, the pressures they are facing and what your trust is doing to help. This is a sensible approach, but equally it puts pressures on already depleted staffing structures, and could have unintended knock-on effects.”

“On vaccinations, we are trying to make plans but it is difficult when we don’t know what staffing numbers will look like from February onwards. On beds, there have been occasions where we have had to refuse to take people which is very distressing for everyone – and what are the real consequences and impact of these decisions? We are moving into a commissioning space and are working through the process to be the lead provider in a partnership with the other mental health providers in the area. They are also looking at acute and mental health joint pathways and hoping for more bed capacity through this route.”

[During a discussion about board development]

“The balance is difficult currently given the demand and pressure to create space to make it feel like key issues are being addressed, whilst acknowledging the dynamics of the board are incredibly important. There can be a temptation to focus on major issues and be task orientated, but attempting this by looking at the task and the team is a positive way to approach this. This can help build confidence and openness, and work needs to be done over a long period of time to shift culture. If the dynamics aren’t right, it’s essential to address this and try and improve it to ensure the work can be done in the right way.”

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.