Family, Friends and Carers Newsletter April 2022

Welcome to our Family, Friends and Carers Newsletter

Publication date:
30 April 2022
Date range:
April 2022 - ongoing


Welcome to the April 2022 edition of the Forensic Inpatient services Family, Friends and Carers Newsletter

What’s new?

It’s a time of change within our services. As a Care Group, we have now welcomed Julie-Anne Meadows to the post of Head of Service for the Forensic and Specialist Care Group within KMPT and are waving a sad farewell to Claire Cloude, the Service Manager for the Trevor Gibbens Unit (Medium secure service).

Farewell from Claire Cloude, TGU Service Manager:

I need to let you know that I will be leaving the service at the end of April. I have loved working with everyone at TGU and will find it incredibly difficult to leave the service and our patients whom I have the upmost time and respect for. I’ve worked in the service for 21 years now in various different roles and I have never stopped being amazed at everyone’s loyalty, dedication and passion for ensuring our patients receive the very best we can provide – I’ve always said, I would be more than happy for a loved one of mine to be cared for at TGU if they needed to be. I will be sorry to depart but wish you all and our patients the very best for the future.

With best wishes,

CQC feedback

We have also recently received the full report from the CQC (Care Quality Commission) inspection which took place in November/ December 2021.

During the unannounced, comprehensive inspection, the CQC assessed the acute wards for adults of working age and psychiatric intensive care units (PICU), forensic inpatient or secure wards, and wards for older people with mental health problems within the trust as part of their continual checks on the safety and quality of healthcare services.
As an overall Trust, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust received the below

  • Safe - requires improvement
  • Effective - Outstanding
  • Caring - Outstanding
  • Responsive - Good
  • Well-led - Good

The Forensic Inpatient or secure wards specifically (The Allington Centre and The Trevor Gibbens Unit) received ratings of Good for all areas including overall.

A summary of the outstanding practice and areas for improvement highlighted by the inspection for forensic inpatient and secure wards is below and you can read the full report here on the CQC website

Outstanding practice

The low secure services were piloting the implementation of the anti-racism strategy. A number of working groups were set up to lead in different areas including; embedding a culture which promotes equality, developing a patient group to explore the impact of racism and look at ways of being anti-racist allies, improve staff support procedures following incidents of racism, including closer working with the police and develop restorative practices to build connections and respond to racism.

This initiative supported the trust intention to become an anti-racist organisation, and also sought to create a culture in this core service which would reduce the frequency of BAME staff experiencing racist bullying and harassment from patients and carers.

Areas for improvement

These are actions we should take (there were no actions that we must take in order to comply with legal obligations).

  • The trust should ensure that the programme for the replacement of vision panels in doors is accelerated
  • The trust should ensure that it makes explicit in its admission criteria for Emmetts ward that the ligature risks on the ward are managed by the individual risks of the patient group and that the ward is suitable to have high levels of managed ligature risk
  • The trust should consider how it improves its response times for localised maintenance works
  • The trust should resolve the issue with the quality of patient food and the impact the regeneration of food on the ward has on clinical staff’s time.

The Brookfield Centre and Tarentfort Centre were not inspected as part of this CQC review as they are wards for people diagnosed with a learning disability. They are likely to be inspected by the CQC separately at another time.

Healthy Weight CQUIN update

What does CQUIN mean?

CQUIN means ‘Commissioning for Quality and Innovation’ – CQUINs supports improvements in the quality of services and the creation of new and better care.

In January we shared some information about the Healthy Weight CQUIN and the various improvements that had been introduced in order to support our patients to achieve and maintain a healthy weight whilst under our care.

Some of the key achievements to have come from the CQUIN include:

  • New fruit and more varieties of food available as well as the introduction of healthier ‘Fakeaway’ groups
  • Water filter machines on every ward
  • New fitness equipment and a variety of activities and classes available from all departments
  • Proposed new joint activities protocol
  • Creation of a new physical health passport which is linked to our electronic records system

As of April 2022, the CQUIN itself has come to an end however we will continue with the work that begun under this approach and would be happy to hear any thoughts or suggestions you have that might support healthy weight management for your loved one and their peers.

Forums and Feedback

Why not drop in and join us at one of upcoming forums for families, friends and carers:

  • Tuesday 17 May 2022, 2-3pm, Online
  • Friday 17 June 2022, 6-7pm, In person at Dartford
  • Sunday 17 July 2022, 2-3pm, Online

The forums are a great opportunity to share any ideas or queries and to meet up with other families, friends and carers too.

Feedback from the Forums…

We know that not everyone is able to join the forums so we thought we would share some of the topics that have come up so far, along with some updates from our teams:


At Trevor Gibbens Unit (TGU) we had some queries around the sinkholes on site and the potential impact of these on activities that are available to patients.


Ongoing: The teams are working hard to ensure that patients are still able to access activities and fresh air in alternative locations. We have been informed that the quotation for the repair works has been approved and that the work to repair the sink hole in the tennis court will take priority. A contractor has been to site to look at this and the other sinkholes and they have reported back to the trust. We are currently awaiting a date for the repairs to start.


At Dartford it was raised that e-cigarettes are costly and it was asked whether any alternatives are available.


Resolved: A trial of alternative brands was completed at The Allington Centre and it was recently agreed within the trustwide 'Smoke Free' meeting that patients are now able to have other disposable e-cigarette brands as long as they are disposable.


Visiting facilities (indoors and out)


Ongoing: We continue to research and plan improvements to the visiting rooms at both sites. We are keen to hear any thoughts that families, friends and carers may have in terms of how you would like the rooms to look and feel and what resources might need to be made available.

We continue to await delivery of the additional benches for the Dartford site. We are open to suggestions for how we can improve the outdoor space at TGU though we hope that increasing the opening hours at Lakeside Lounge (the onsite cafe and vocational rehabilitation project) will support with this when possible.

In the meantime, if you are planning to meet with your loved one in the grounds of one of our sites, please do come prepared for all weathers where you can. In the event of a sudden
downpour during a visit please speak to our teams who will see if an indoor space can be made available, however regrettably this cannot always be guaranteed.

We will work to keep you updated on any developments via the forums and newsletters and if you have any ideas regarding the format or timing of the forums moving forwards, please let the Family engagement and liaison lead know.

For example, would you prefer a different day or time or having more of a focus to the forums such as a social activity or information sessions? Would you like to be more involved in leading the forums and proving peer support for other families, friends and carers?

The forums are for you so we are happy to discuss and adapt as needed.

Aside from the forums there are a number of other ways that you can let us know about your experience of our services:

Family, friends and carers survey

The survey specifically for families, friends and carers was launched in February 2022. Copies are available at each of our sites and online. We have also sent out copies and links too.

Please complete a survey whenever you would like, there is no set time and you can complete as often as you would like. The aim is for us to capture more specific information about your experience of our service. Responses will be anonymous and confidential.

We will be sent feedback each quarter and we will review this amongst our teams. We will share the findings with you and work with you on any actions we need to address.

Quality Network Reviews

As you may have seen in recent correspondence, we are due to take part in Quality Network Reviews at The Trevor Gibbens Unit, The Allington Centre and The Tarentfort Centre. The Quality Network are organised by the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Centre for Quality Improvement and they aim to help services plan improvements for the future
and benchmark against other similar services.

The reviews are due to take place on the following dates:

  • The Allington Centre and The Tarentfort Centre, Wednesday 4 May 2022
  • The Trevor Gibbens Unit, Tuesday 24 May 2022

You may have already completed a questionnaire for your loved one’s ward but if you would like to speak to the relevant review team on the day, please let the Family engagement and liaison lead know. Your insights and feedback are invaluable and much appreciated.

Kent and Medway Recovery & Wellbeing College

The Summer prospectus for the Kent and Medway Recovery & Wellbeing College* has launched!

You can find a copy of the prospectus online

This term there are a range of courses available under the following headings: Diagnosis, Understanding, Health and Wellbeing, Careers and Creativity.

The Recovery College are now also running monthly virtual sessions for anyone who would like to know more about the Kent & Medway Recovery College. These sessions cover basic background about the college and there will be an opportunity at the end to ask questions. There is no enrolment required to attend these drop-in sessions so it’s a good first step if you are curious.

The next drop-in session dates are below and they can be accessed here

  • Wednesday 11 May 2022 from 9-10am
  • Monday 13 June 2022 from 10-11am
  • Friday 15 July 2022 from 11am-12pm

If you would like to enrol with the College (for any location), you can find the enrolment page here and it takes approximately 10 minutes to

*Courses are open to anyone aged 18 years and above from Kent and Medway. If you are based outside of Kent and Medway and would like to find out whether there is a Recovery College available in your area, please reach out to your Family engagement and liaison lead to discuss further.

The Summer Art Exhibition

The team at Lakeside Lounge at the TGU (The Trevor Gibbens Unit) are bringing back The Summer Art Exhibition.

The show has been on hold during COVID but we are really happy to now be opening our doors to budding artists to show off their work. It is open to all, so why not join in and exhibit your work?

There is no theme, all we ask is to be creative and to have fun.

Who can exhibit?

Any patient, ex-patient, member of KMPT staff or associated organisation. In fact anyone who has had to face issues with mental health in their lives, be it themselves or friends or family.


  • From 1 to 31 May 2022 - submission of work for display
  • From 1 June to 31 August 2022 - KMPT Summer Exhibition
  • From 1 September 2022 - collection of work


How many pieces can be submitted?
Up to two. Much is reliant on how many applications are received. Expressions of interest can be for up to two pieces. If numbers are high we may only be able to offer space for one piece per person. If fewer applications are received, we may be able to show more.

What can I exhibit?
2D, e.g. Paintings, prints, drawings, textiles, original poems, short stories

Is it a selling exhibition?
Yes, but we cannot release the work until the end of the exhibition on 1 September 2022.

Does the café take commission on selling work?
No. We take no commission. We can look after any sales proceeds collected for the artists on their behalf.

What happens next?
This is an introductory communication to start the project. Please contact us as soon as possible if you are interested in exhibiting, submitting work or offering assistance.

If you would like to get involved, please contact the Lakeside Lounge team via: or

Carers Week (6-12 June 2022) and a joint Carers Conference!

Carers Week 2022 aims to make caring visible, valued and supported.

This Carers Week, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) and Kent Community NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) are partnering up to hold our first joint Carers Conference.

The conference will be open to families, friends and carers for those using services across both trusts. It will be an opportunity to hear from speakers and meet with different organisations who provide support and information for those who find themselves in a caring role.

We will be sharing more information as the conference approaches and we hope to welcome along as many of you as we can so if you can, please Save the Date: Thursday 9 June 2022.

For those who are not able to come along in person, for whatever reason, we will be putting together some information packs to make sure that nobody misses out and we are planning to have some online options for attending too.

Carer’s Assessment

You may be entitled to a Carer’s Assessment… if you live in Kent or Medway, you can find out more about how to access a Carer’s Assessment via the below organisations (see map).

If you live outside of Kent and Medway, please contact the Family Engagement and Liaison Lead who can support with identifying the relevant local authority or carer support organisation who are responsible for carrying out Carer’s Assessments in your area.

Remember: you don’t always need to have a full Carers Assessment straight away. Many carer support organisations will be able to offer information and support as soon as you register with them. You can then discuss together whether a full Carers Assessment might be of benefit.

Carers rights

As someone who may identify as a carer, it is important that you are aware of some of the rights you  may have. These rights include, the right to:

  • discuss flexible working options
  • protection from discrimination
  • request a free flu jab
  • receive a Carer's Assessment
  • be identified as a carer
  • be consulted on hospital discharge

Each edition we will focus on one of the rights in more detail – today, we look at protection from discrimination…

According to Carers UK, if you look after an older or disabled person, the law - under the Equality Act 2010 - protects you against direct discrimination or harassment because of your caring responsibilities.

This is because you are counted as being 'associated' with someone who is protected by the law because of their age or disability.

Carers UK have information available that explains discrimination by association and harassment, which may be useful if you feel you have been treated unfairly because of your caring role.

You can find this additional information here or if you would like a copy printed and posted, please speak to the Family engagement and liaison lead.

The Triangle of Care

The Triangle of Care is a therapeutic alliance between patients, their ‘carers’ and professionals.

There are 6 standards to the Triangle of Care:

  • Carers and the essential role they play are identified at first contact or as soon as possible thereafter
  • Staff are ’carer aware’ and trained in carer engagement strategies
  • Policy and practice protocols re: confidentiality and sharing information are in place
  • Defined post(s) responsible for carers are in place
  • A carer introduction to the service and staff is available, with a relevant range of information across the acute care pathway
  • A range of carer support services is available.

Each edition we will focus on one of the standards and share some of the work we are doing to support the standard.

Today’s focus is standard 2: Staff are ’carer aware’ and trained in carer engagement strategies.

  • We provide an online training course regarding ‘Forensic Carer Awareness’ – this is available to all staff and completion is encouraged though not currently mandatory
  • We provide an induction to all new staff which focuses on ‘Working together with families, friends and carers’ – we have been working with some families via focus groups to update the induction training and have been trialling these sessions with current staff members at our Dartford site. The plan is to finalise and roll-out across the Maidstone services as well
  • We are aiming to develop ‘Working with workshops’ to support the online and induction sessions and provide a space for staff to practice relevant skills and discuss any experiences of working with families, friends and carers
  • We are aiming to develop supporting documentation to support the online, induction and workshop sessions
  • The Family engagement and liaison lead and ward Carers Champions are available as an ongoing source of information and support for colleagues to ensure that all staff are aware that working with families, friends and carers is everyone’s role and responsibility.

Any questions?

Is there something you’ve been meaning to ask but weren’t sure who to go to or you think other family, friends or carers might also be interested in the answer?

If so, just let us know – any questions can be submitted to your Family engagement and liaison lead and we will do our best to include the answers in the next edition.


My son tells me he is bored and there is nothing to do, what is actually available for him please?


Each of our services are supported by a multi-disciplinary team made up of medical, nursing, psychological therapies, occupational therapies and social work professionals. Each member of the team ensures that activities are included within a therapeutic programme that is available on the ward. The therapeutic programme is available every day of the week.

It may vary from ward to ward and is reviewed on a 3-monthly basis in order to ensure that the activities offered fit in with the current patient’s needs and interests.

Activities might include things like pet care, gardening, cooking, education, pool, craft, music, sports, IT, money skills, self-care, time for leave and/or voluntary work as applicable as well as group and individual therapy sessions as required.

If there is a particular activity or topic your loved one is interested in, please encourage them to talk to the team about it or let us know and we can look at whether we can support them to keep this going whilst they are in our care.

Sometimes access to activities might be limited if there are certain restrictions in place for your loved one’s care (for example in relation to their section of the Mental Health Act) and often patients will be supported to build up from ward-based activities, to off-ward/ grounds, to community and home-based activities as appropriate.

If you have specific questions about your loved one’s programme, please reach out and, with their consent, we can let you know more specific information.


What opportunities are there for my relative to maintain and develop friendships and social networks outside of the ward?


We know that it can be really difficult to maintain and develop friendships and social networks whilst in hospital, especially for those of our patients who do not have leave or who present with specific types of risks.

However, we will do what we can to support your loved one to maintain existing friendships and familial relationships. This might be via supporting telephone contact, Skype contact, visits to site, visits in the grounds, community leave and home leave – as and when appropriate. We will also support your loved one to engage in relevant activities outside of the ward when the time comes, for example in education and sport in the community and this may provide an opportunity for them to develop new friendships and social networks outside of the ward environment.

Depending on the individual, some activities / methods of contact will need to be carefully considered by the team and risk assessed and any decision making around this will be done collaboratively with your loved one. If you have any particular views around this, and your loved one consents, then we can discuss with you too.

Caring is sharing

Do you have any tips, ideas, suggestions or information that you would like to share with other family, friends and carers?

Perhaps you have come across some information about carers rights, or a local support group or
organisation who you have found really helpful and you would like to let other people know? If so, we would like to give you the opportunity to share these via our newsletter…just let your Family engagement and liaison lead know and we can add to our next edition.

If you would like to take a little time out for yourself and have thought of giving yoga a try, why not check out Yoga with Adriene’s free online yoga videos from the comfort of your own home.

Crossroads Care Kent help carers to make a life of their own outside caring by providing quality care services offering peace of mind while they enjoy some time to themselves. If you are providing care or support to a family member or friend because they are ill, elderly, frail or have a physical or learning disability, they can help. They provide services for carers of all ages including young carers. You can find out more by calling 03450 956 701 or online.

Mind provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. You
can find out more online or by calling their information line on 0300 123 3393. There are also a network of around 125 local Minds across England and Wales who offer specialised support and care based on the needs of the communities they support – to find your local branch or ask the Family engagement and liaison lead to find out for you.

There are many more sources of information online too but if you are not able to or would simply prefer not to access information online, please just let us know which conditions, treatments, medications, support or services you might like to find out more about and we will see what we can find to send to you as a paper copy. This applies to any of the topics covered in this newsletter too.

Get Involved (Opportunities)

Including the views and experience of our patients and their families, friends and carers in improving and developing our services helps us to get it right.

Please see below some of the latest opportunities:

  • Recruitment of family, friend or carer representatives for The Trevor Gibbens Unit Patient and Carer Experience Meeting
  • Seeking members of the Engagement Pool to participate in the 15 Steps Challenge 2022 ward visits, between May 2022 to July 2022
  • Potential research project into the supportive factors of social networks of chronic mental health care users with psychosis

You can also sign up to our new quarterly bulletin, Engage. This is just one of the ways we are working in collaboration with service users, carers and healthcare professionals to make sure their voices are heard. We hope that you will learn more about our engagement and participation work and also about KMPT as an organisation.

Sign up here

We will keep sharing updates on opportunities to get involved in local, Trustwide and external projects and meetings when available. If you are passionate about service improvement, please get in touch with: Kamila Lobuzinska, Patient engagement coordinator, on 07917 513426 or email

Future editions

We hope you enjoy this latest newsletter and would love to hear your feedback and/or ideas for future content.

The next edition will be coming out in July 2022 so please get in touch between now and then if you’d like to get involved…

Contact us if you have any questions

Your Family Engagement and Liaison Lead is Hayley Mason. 

You can contact her by calling 07880 473366 or emailing