e-connect October 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


Welcome to e-connect!

As we near the end of October and the evenings are drawing in, we've been very busy here at KMPT continuing to adapt and run our services during a global pandemic as well as celebrating lots of special days that draw attention to different aspects and areas of our work and our staff. October is Black History Month and around the Trust we have been celebrating alongside our KMPT BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic) family with a plethora of activities including a cook off, reading groups and art and music projects to name but a few. This week on Friday, to mark the end of Black History Month, we will be holding a virtual online conference with special guest speaker (read more below). Also, we have been recongnising the integral and vital role that our Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) have at KMPT; and we all took some time to reflect and take care of ourselves on World Mental Health Day.

Since the introduction of the government’s system of local COVID alert levels (otherwise known as tier 1, 2 and 3 or local lockdown), we have been working hard to ensure we continue to adhere firmly to all guidelines to help keep our patients, visitors and staff as safe as possible during this difficult and challenging time.

We therefore ask that any visitors travelling to and from tier 1 and 2 areas contact us in advance to prearrange their visit. Unfortunately, we cannot permit visits from people within a confirmed tier 3 area unless it is to support a specific clinical need.

If you have any concerns, please contact the ward staff direct and they will do their very best to work with you, while maintaining everyone’s safety.

As a Trust, we are so grateful for everyone's understanding and cooperation during these uncertain times - providing brilliant care is at the heart of what we do, and so continuing to be able to deliver our services for patients and their loved ones has always been and will remain our central priority.

Stay safe and remember - hands, face, space!

We're all in this together.

World Mental Health Day

On 10 October it was World Mental Health Day, a day dedicated to campaigning to change the way people think and act about mental health problems. This year’s theme was ‘mental health for all’.

Everyone’s experience of mental health is different and it’s important we all share our lived experiences with each other, support one another and help to break down the stigma which often leaves people feeling isolated, ashamed and afraid to speak up and have conversations when they need help.

This year has been and continues to be tough for all of us, but for those already struggling with mental illness the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of anxiety, fear and isolation. It's so important we all check in on our families, friends and colleagues and ensure we are having open and honest discussions about mental health by sharing our own experiences and listening to each other.

Talking is good for your mental health and although in some parts of the UK there are restrictions on meeting up with people outside of your household, you can still keep in touch virtually.

We encouraged our staff, whether they were at work or home, to take a five minute break and talk to each other - a family member, a neighbour or a friend - over a cup of tea (as part of the tea and talk initiative) to make sure everyone is okay and has the opportunity to speak about how they're feeling.

On Friday 9 October many of our staff members in the Workforce directorate, took part in a #HelloYellow team lunch, where they all wore yellow to support young people’s mental health on World Mental Health Day. The team raised over £130, which will help to make a significant difference to families in need.

We also marked World Mental Health Day on our social media platforms - so take a look on

Facebook and Twitter to see some of the activities we have been up to!

Find out more about world mental health day

Recover and Transform

We are continuing to review the work carried out during the height of the pandemic, so that we can keep what has worked but also continue to improve access to our services. Our project Better safer buildings has been developed to regularly review the guidelines issued by the government to ensure our staff, patients and other visitors are kept safe and the risk of infection is controlled as much as possible.

Digitally-enabled care is working in partnership with our clinical technology strategy to increase access to services using technology and supporting our staff with clear guidance, training and reporting mechanisms to support delivery of care.

COVID-19 has impacted on us all in different ways. We are committed to working with our partners to ensure psychological support is available for all NHS/healthcare staff, the general population and our KMPT family.

These are just three of many projects we are committed to which will be overseen by our Recover and Transform Board. We’ll keep you updated as we go.

Black History Month

October is Black History Month and we have been engaing in lots of activities as a Trust to support and celebrate our BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic) staff, patients, carers and volunteers.

The Trust is holding a virtual conference hosted by our fantastic BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic) staff network tomorrow (30 October) between 2 and 4.30pm via Lifesize.

We are very lucky to have a distinguished panel of guests from authors to fellow healthcare professionals including: Dr Habib Naqvi MBE, Director of Race and Health Observatory, Christine Locke, CEO Diversity House, Dr Joan Myers OBE, Director and Trustee of the Florence Nightingale Foundation as well as Elijah Lawal, author of The Clapback, Your Guide to Calling Out Racist

Stereotypes, to share their experiences with staff and invite them as part of a question and answer section to talk about their views.

Helen Greatorex, Chief executive, will also be hosting an 'in conversation' with Simon Cook, Chair of the BAME staff network, discussing how as a Trust we are working together to ensure we are an antiracist organisation, as well as the initiatives we are developing so our KMPT BAME family continues to be well supported.

As well as the conference, we have been running a series of book group sessions, where staff have had the opportunity to discuss the four titles circulated to staff following Simon Cook's open letter to Helen Greatorex and the Board that included a recommended reading list as well a plea for further action.

The books are:

  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • So You Want to Talk about Race – Ijeoma Oluo
  • White Privilege: The Myth of a Post-Racial Society – Kalwant Bhopal
  • White Privilege Unmasked: How to be Part of the Solution – Judy Ryde

We have also been encouraging staff to cook their favourite national dish and share it with their colleagues, and have interviewed a number of our BAME nurses about their experiences and how they feel about Black History Month.

Find out more about Black History Month

Allied Health Professions Day

The 14 October 2020 was Allied Health Professions (AHPs) Day, a day dedicated to celebrating, appreciating and recognising the extraordinary work of the AHP workforce.

In 2018, KMPT chose to launch its first ever AHP strategy at a conference held on this day, and have now made the confernce an annual event. Last year, we had the chance to celebrate and hear how the strategy was progressing, and this year we planned to do something very similar.

However, as with most events, we had to celebrate our AHP conference a little differently this year. We decided not to celebrate AHPs on a single day, but celebrate their work over a whole week - 12 to 16 October. By doing this we were able to share our AHP practice developments, successes and stories in bite-sized chunks.

Sessions ran from 30 to 60 minutes with slots available across the week so those attending could dip into sessions that fitted around their work schedules. Session included: the implementation of the Therapy Outcome Measure (TOM) in practice, an introduction to Recovery College, building accessible learning experiences for students, animal therapy and many more.

We were also very privileged to welcome a very special guest of honour at one of the sessions - Suzanne Rastrick, Chief AHP with NHS England. Suzanne ran a special KMPT session reflecting on the national AHP strategy and highlighting the role of AHPs in advancing it. A huge thank you to Suzanne for attending and taking part in the virtual conference.

Julia Wilson, Strategic lead for Allied health professions, received some incredibly postive feedback from staff who took part in the sessions:

“Thank you all for an amazing week. It must have been incredibly complex to put together and it worked so well, despite the current restrictions that have stopped many of our endeavours in their tracks. I have attended many sessions and I feel like my head might explode from all the new information, but I also feel that I know so much more about the other services in the Trust and the different expertise that we have at our fingertips. Thank you again.”

Hannah, Occupational therapist, clinical lead.

“So glad I could make it to the wellbeing session! I’m hoping to make a few more, but congratulations to you and the team for putting it together in this awkward time."

Jonathan, Occupational therapist apprentice, Forensic and specialist care group.

As you can see, the week was a huge success with many members of staff attending various sessions. Congratulations to the team for putting together such a varied and interesting selection of sessions, and we hope next year you'll be able to hold the conference in person again!

Perinatal mental health survey

We would like to invite you to take part in a study which aims to explore people’s understanding, attitudes and experiences of perinatal mental illness (PMI) in England through a single online survey. Becoming a parent can be an exciting time but it can also bring many challenges that could affect parents’ mental health. Perinatal mental illnesses, such as postnatal depression and anxiety, can affect both men and women but sometimes these needs aren’t accurately understood or recognised.

Therefore, we are developing a multimedia campaign which aims to share information about PMI across four different countries: England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

In this short survey, we would like to get a current understanding of people’s attitudes and experiences of PMI in England. We are asking pregnant women, mothers with children less than one year old and their partners, to take part in the study in order to understand their perspective of PMI.

For more information, and to take part in the study, please clink this link

Please share this message with others who might be interested in taking part in this study, so we can capture as many experiences as possible.

This study is sponsored by Kent and Medway NHS & Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) and is part of a wider, European-funded project which aims to enable women, families and healthcare professionals to prevent, diagnose, and successfully reduce mild to moderate perinatal mental health problems.

Find out more about the PATH project

Leeds Castle Family Day

On Saturday 26 September more than 1,000 NHS workers from across Kent and Medway took advantage of the fabulous free family ticket offer from Leeds Castle as they gathered together for a fun day of activities as a big thank you for all their amazing work.

More than 50 members of staff from our KMPT family joined their fellow NHS workers at this historic location in Maidstone.

Not surprisingly the cold weather did nothing to stop the intrepid explorers as everyone donned woolly hats and umbrellas so they could enjoy a stroll around the beautiful grounds, eventually taking shelter in the castle itself before returning outside for mini golf and falconry display.

Leeds Castle welcomed NHS staff with a goodie bag which included some chocolate and fun activities. The discounted hot beverages and freshly cooked doughnuts warmed visitors from the inside out and a quick visit to the gift shop resulted in a few early Christmas presents! Staff were welcoming and some even entertained guests in full character costumes.

Lydia Fry, a Post-graduate administrator with KMPT, shared her thoughts on the eventful day:

"The Leeds day out last Saturday was a fantastic treat; a big thank you to the KMPT Communications team and Leeds Castle event management! I went with family and friends, we were made to feel very special and welcome, especially by the King and Queen of the day.

"The grounds are absolutely beautiful and the lakes, waterfalls and landscaped verges make it a very peaceful and relaxing place. There were also lots of ducks and swans all swimming around and looking for snacks from passers by. The tour of the castle was very interesting. We found out that the enormous queen’s bed in a stately room was just for show, a status symbol and her real bed (smaller) was in another room. I loved the royal dinning room best; it was so elegant and the views from the windows added to the atmosphere.

"We enjoyed our free family-sized pizza but weren’t able to enjoy a complimentary game of mini-golf as it was quite busy when we arrived there. So I guess we need to go back for another visit!"

Many thanks to Leeds Castle for this incredible day.