e-connect November 2020

Welcome to e-connect, our monthly Trust e-bulletin with the intention of helping to keep you connected with us, update you on the service improvements we are making and share the work we are doing to improve access to our services across the county.

Publication date:
01 November 2020
Date range:
November 2020 - ongoing


Can you believe it's December? Last month we saw a second national lockdown and from the 3 December, Kent and Medway entered into Tier 3. While this is not what anyone would have hoped for, by working together to stay positive we will get through it.

Our priority at KMPT remains to keep all visitors to our sites as safe as possible, as well as our staff.

That is why we are continuing to ask everyone to wash their hands regularly, adhere to our 2m social distancing policy and wear a face mask at all times. Our services remain open and we are here to support our community as always, over the coming weeks. Remember that it's okay to be struggling in these unprecedented times and there are so many support networks available via KMPT to help you.

Although the countdown to Christmas might not feel as festive as it normally does, we are trying our best to make sure our staff know that the work they are doing to support and care for people across Kent and Medway is very much appreciated by communities.

You will see below our plans are underway for our KMPT Awards - which is set to be another brilliant event, albeit slightly different to how we've hosted our ceremonies in previous years. This year we are celebrating over a week to make sure everyone is able to partake in the celebration no matter where they are we do hope everyone takes a moment to celebrate their own achievements as well as those of their amazing colleagues.

The next few weeks will be very busy, but we hope that everyone takes some time to relax and reflect as we hurtle towards a new year.

Stay safe and we look forward to seeing what 2021 has to bring us.

Our Single Point of Access number has changed

Our December, our Single Point of Access contact number has changed.

Our new Freephone number – 0800 783 9111 – is for anyone who needs urgent mental health support, advice and guidance.

Please help us share the message to ensure everyone is aware the telephone number has changed.

Our crisis and community contact details remain the same and can be found on our website

KMPT Awards - a week of celebration

When the second nationwide lockdown was announced, we realised we needed to adapt our plans for this year's KMPT Awards as they wouldn't be able to go ahead as we had hoped. After a lot of conversations, we have found a way to still celebrate all our staff, while making sure everyone is kept safe.

We are holding a week-long KMPT Awards and a series of Health and Wellbeing celebrations. During the week commencing 14 December, our winners and highly commended nominees will receive their trophies and certificates, and everyone will have the opportunity to vote for the winner of the Unsung Hero award via Slido.

The week will end with a special message via Lifesize from Chief Executive, Helen Greatorex and Interim Chair, Jackie Craissati. This event will include the winners from the Year of the Nurse award, Lifelong Achievement and of course our Unsung Hero award, voted for by staff. We will also be announcing the winner of a special, new award - so watch this space! Staff and patients will be able to watch the ceremony via Lifesize, and we’ll share the link from the beginning f the week.

In addition to the presentation of the KMPT Awards 2020, we are reminding everyone to take care of their own health and wellbeing and are working with the Health and Wellbeing team to host a series of virtual events to ensure everyone can get involved. This will include a special trust-wide garland competition and a Wear Red Day in support of the British Heart Foundation charity day, as well as a very special concert hosted by the Chaplaincy team on Wednesday 16 December.

And don’t forget to check out the shortlist of all the staff nominated on our website to see who is in with a chance of winning this year if you haven’t already.

We hope as many people as possible will get involved in this special KMPT celebration week, as we honour each other, as well as our patients, carers and volunteers – our KMPT family.

Flu Vaccines

Never has it been more important for everyone to get their flu vaccination than this winter. And in an expansion of the largest flu immunisation programme in England to date, people aged between 50 and 64 will be added to the eligible group for a free jab from Tuesday (1 December).

The move is to safeguard against severe illness and the double threat of flu and COVID-19, which can be caught at the same time and have devastating effects on the respiratory system.

Demand for the flu vaccine is high as a result.

Protecting against the flu will also help protect the NHS by preventing potential hospital admissions and passing it on to those most vulnerable to its effects.

Additional flu vaccine stocks have been delivered to GP surgeries - who will contact eligible patients directly - and community pharmacies, where individual appointments can be made. Please contact yours for more information.

People are being urged to have their flu vaccination as soon as possible so they are clear and ready for when the COVID-19 vaccination becomes available.

There is enough flu vaccine to vaccinate 30 million people in England this year. The groups now eligible for the free vaccination are:

  • adults aged 50 and over
  • pregnant women
  • those with certain pre-existing conditions
  • NHS and social care workers
  • all children up to year 7
  • household contacts of those who are
  • clinically extremely vulnerable

Help us Help You campaign

NHS England has launched their first national campaign on mental health services as there never has been a more important time to look after the mental health of the nation.

One in four adults will be affected by mental ill health in their lifetime, meaning you or someone you know will experience a mental health condition at some point in life. It’s important to remember that the NHS is here for mental health too, even during the pandemic and urges people with mental health worries to seek help.

The ‘Help Us Help You – Mental Health’ is a two month campaign which encourages anyone experiencing stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health problems to seek help for assessment and treatment through NHS talking therapies, also known as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), a confidential service run by fully trained experts. People can access the service by visiting their GP or refer themselves online.

Some people have experienced mental health issues for the first time during the pandemic and lockdown while others have seen them return. Common anxiety problems seen include (but are not restricted to) panic attacks, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive problems, generalised anxiety/worry, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The campaign aims to reach people and communities who are the most at risk this winter of needing mental health support including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups and people struggling with unemployment.

Here at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) we offer a number of different talking therapy services.

The East Kent Personality disorder service in Folkestone offers a one year group community therapy programme for up to 24 people at any one time offering talking therapy, art therapy, a writing group, studio time and the leavers group.

Members can make use of three group rooms including a large community and art space studio space and a good sized kitchen and dining room with an adjoining lounge area. Some rooms overlook the park and every effort has been made to try to make the setting comfortable. Referrals are accepted from your local community mental health team.

The team at the Brenchley Unit in Maidstone provide specialist therapeutic community treatment for people with severe or complex personalities difficulties. Following assessment, service users attend a weekly therapy group for one year in their local area, before moving on to the therapeutic community group. The group offers a years’ group-based therapy programme for up to 24 members at any one time and runs three days a week. The community is based at Oakapple lane, close to Maidstone Hospital.

The unit offers a welcoming and comfortable environment and a number of group rooms including an art studio, a well equipped kitchen and a lovely garden. A mixture of talking and creative therapy groups run each day. Referrals are accepted from your local community mental health team.

After completing the year in the Therapeutic community, a once weekly leavers group is offered to prepare people for the next steps in their lives and, discharge. This group lasts for a further year.

Open Dialogue is a community-based and integrated way of engaging with families, or a person’s social network, from the very start ensuring that there is an immediate response at the point of crisis (within 24 hours), that the same care professionals are involved throughout someone’s care and all clinical discussions being undertaken in the presence of the person’s family.

As a Trust we are delighted to have developed our own Peer Supported Open Dialogue team, who are based in Canterbury. It involves paid support workers with lived experience becoming part of the network meetings.

The service consists of a multi-disciplinary team of Open Dialogue-trained clinicians who have undergone one year of Peer Supported Open Dialogue training. Every individual and family/network will have the opportunity to have access to a peer support worker employed by KMPT and trained in Open Dialogue. Peer support workers have lived experience of mental health issues and experience of having engaged with community mental health services.

The team receive referrals from Single Point of Access (SPoA) for new episodes of care sought by adults in specific GP practices in the Canterbury and Coastal area. As this is at pilot stage the Trust can only accept referrals from those living in the Canterbury and Coastal areas.

Anticipated outcomes include reduced hospital admissions and lengths of stay, increased wellbeing for clients and families, increased user satisfaction and high staff satisfaction.

The NHS is here to help. To find out more about talking therapies, you can visit the NHS website: nhs.uk/talk 

NHS Library and Knowledge specialist give health professionals the gift of time

All healthcare staff are short of an invaluable resource – time. Time to spend caring for their patients while being confident they have the most relevant, evidence-based information they need to plan and deliver that care.

A report to an All-Party Parliamentary Group this month clearly outlines the true value of NHS Library and Knowledge Services, having both a direct and indirect effect on the care patients receive. They make a positive impact on services as a whole, providing an economic value of millions of pounds to the NHS.

Health Education England (HEE) commissioned the report Library and Knowledge Services Value Proposition: The Gift of Time. This identifies key benefits of a library and knowledge service within an NHS organisation and, specifically, the specialist roles embedded within NHS teams.

Health librarians and knowledge specialists make the gathering of information as easy as possible for healthcare professionals, relieving the burden of sourcing and synthesising evidence while enabling NHS organisations to meet their statutory obligations to get evidence into practice across the service.

Findings in a recently published international literature review showed that for every $1 of funding spent on library and knowledge services a return of $2.4 is received. If applicable to the NHS it suggests that library and knowledge services are already delivering a net economic benefit of £77m per annum. Were HEE’s recommended staff ratio for qualified librarians per member of the NHS workforce achieved, this could increase to £106m per annum. Moreover, this includes only the benefits of time saving and expense, not the value of improvement to patient care, safety and operational efficiencies.

Patrick Mitchell, Director of Innovation and Transformation, Health Education England, said: “This report gives us some truly great insight into the value that embedded NHS Library and Knowledge Services bring to staff at all levels of the healthcare system when planning and delivering care for local people.

“Librarians are probably not the first role that spring to mind when people think about the NHS. However, the part they play, and the specialist expertise they provide, give clinicians some of the most important tools they have to treat patients effectively – information, and time. All the evidence shows that the right knowledge services improve outcomes for patients.

“Every politician, every system leader should be asking, ‘where is your librarian…?’” Sue Lacey Bryant, National Lead for NHS Library and Knowledge Services, HEE said: “We are passionate about the positive impact that librarians and knowledge managers have on the quality of care. Our regional library teams will now work with NHS organisations and local library services to help the NHS fully realise all these benefits.

"We will continue to work with trusts, Integrated Care Systems and Arm’s Length Bodies to make sure that NHS library services are adequately resourced; aligned with local priorities and able to support the organisation to adopt NICE guidelines and CQC standards”.