Our staff

Our staff

Why work for Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust?

Our staff are proud to work for us. In this video they talk about how their roles really make a difference.

We interviewed some of our staff to give you some idea of why you should consider joining an award winning team.

Rachel Whitehead, Assistant Psychologist

Day to day looking after patients is what inspired Rachel to start her career as a Healthcare Worker after leaving university in 2005. Aged just 21, Rachel started working on Walmer Ward at the Trevor Gibbens Unit in Maidstone. Walmer ward has 12 beds for women and is an acute and rehabilitation ward.

During this time, Rachel’s career has gone from strength to strength and she is now three months away from qualifying as a Forensic Psychologist.

In 2009, Rachel studied part time for two years doing her Masters in Forensic Psychology at the University of Kent whilst continuing to work as a Healthcare Worker on the ward.

Rachel said: “I studied around my shifts whilst applying the theory of learning with the practical side of working with patients. As a Healthcare Worker I spent a lot of time seeing patients on the wards. I did not have much involvement in psychology, so it was interesting to find out about the different treatments psychology can offer patients.” 

Following her Masters, Rachel applied for the post of Assistant Psychologist within Forensic Services.

Rachel is currently completing her doctorate in Forensic Psychology; a two year training course to become a fully qualified psychologist. The doctorate involves working at three different work placements within Forensic Services.

Rachel said: “One of my placements is working at our medium secure unit. The unit specialises in the assessment and treatment of women with complex mental health needs who require care in a medium secure setting as a response to offending and challenging behaviour.”

Until Rachel is qualified her work is supervised by a qualified psychologist. Rachel helps with the assessment of patients, writing reports, treatments, audits and research. The work is more intensive in helping to understand why offences have occurred, what the triggers were and working with any trauma the person has experienced.

Rachel added: “Working as a Healthcare Worker has given me the hands on experience working with patients. While I have been training I have been given me the opportunity to learn from patients and what they have experienced.”

Rachel has already applied for a psychologist position at the Trevor Gibbens Unit and will commence this role in April 2016.

Rachel whitehead web

Anna Hubbard, Physical Health Nurse

Anna Hubbard tells us why she enjoys her job as a Physical Health Nurse and why she feels it’s important.

My role

I have always been interested in nursing having grown up with parents who are both mental health nurses so I’m following in their footsteps.

Following my training twelve years ago, you had the opportunity to choose which branch of nursing you wanted to go into. Following my dad’s advice and his own experiences, I focused on general nursing as a foundation.

I applied for the job of Physical Health Nurse at Priority House in 2015. I’ve always had a keen interest in mental health and this post combines both practice nursing and mental health nursing all rolled into one. I get to have the best of both worlds at my fingertips.

I work on Upnor Ward; it is a new ward that opened in June 2015, providing inpatient care with intensive support for patients in periods of acute psychiatric illness. My job involves looking after patient’s mental and physical health.

Part of my role involves conducting  physical health assessments to all patients admitted onto the ward within 72 hours. I assess their lifestyle habits, any past medical history, medication, smoking and nutritional needs. During their admission, I offer patients advice on how to quit smoking, how to reduce the amount of cigarettes they smoke and find out what causes them to smoke.

The physical health of patients is assessed in the treatment room by looking at wounds, doing dressings and blood tests. Any long term and chronic conditions such as COPD, heart disease and diabetes are monitored and tests carried out to see if any referrals for treatment are required. Referrals for treatment are made before they are discharged from our service out into our Community Mental Health Teams for ongoing care and support.

On a daily basis I have therapeutic time with patients, spending regular, uninterrupted periods of time with them to discuss any concerns or worries that they may have. We don’t just discuss physical health needs but any mental health worries they may have.

What I love about what I do

I enjoy spending time with our patients, talking to them and finding out how they are managing with their illness. You always hope that you do a good job, but when a patient actually tells you it makes a huge difference.

Nursing is a career that is both rewarding and challenging. We are here to look after our patients and want to do the best for them. When patients are eventually discharged from the acute ward, their physical and mental health needs are fully supported.  They receive ongoing support within our Community Teams who continue to assess their needs. They continue to receive an annual physical health check by their GP to ensure that both their physical and mental health needs continue to be monitored.

The amount of training that you receive as a member of staff working at KMPT is amazing. The Trust organises the training that you need to carry out your job as part of your induction which helps you further develop into your role.

Anna Hubbard web

Hannah Debenham, Operational Team Leader

Meet Hannah Debenham. Hannah is Operational Team Leader with the Maidstone Community Mental Health Team based at Albion Place. She joined the Trust in July 2015 and here shares her experiences so far and her hopes for the future.

From the start of the recruitment process, I felt confident with the help and guidance the administration team and service manager gave me to help me prepare for the interview.

Respect, open, accountable, working together, innovative and excellence

Through the interview I became acquainted with the Trust values and service priorities which was a very attractive start. The Induction process was flawless and bespoke. I felt welcomed as an external candidate coming to work for the Trust.

The team I am working with is quite large and it took a while to get acquainted with everyone but they have helped me to become very involved and part of the team. As the Trust values were so important from the start, it is great to see my Service Manager is very approachable and works very much in line with those values.


I won't lie, there is a great deal of work including reducing delays and inefficiencies for our patients which takes a lot of collaboration with the managers of community and acute services. But I feel supported - from the management team, performance team and all those in between. I feel encouraged to work creatively and identify solutions. The Service Manager takes pride in every contribution we offer, which to me is the most rewarding part of my work.

We deal with people who have severe mental health problems and high psychosocial needs. Helping service users and their families is the very reason I work in health care. Whenever I deal with a case I always put myself in their shoes and ask myself what else could be done to help identify ways they can adopt in order to cope with the difficulties they experience. My background in Occupational Therapy and training as an Approved Mental Health professional bring out a dynamic balance of risk management and positive risk-taking. In every case I endeavour to teach people the skills necessary to move on and achieve the maximum potential for recovery using their skills, support network, life experience and interest. 

And the future?

I joined KMPT in search of a managerial role which is my passion. I’m now sharing the vast knowledge and skills I have acquired through nearly a decade of specialising in mental health in London.

I dream to manage a service and influence decision-makers in the Trust to ensure that our patients sit in the centre of our work and our staff are empowered to deliver creative, efficient and safe practice. To me patients and staff are equally important and services need to be aligned and work in partnership.

Hannah Debenham

Michelle Chapman, Deputy Ward Manager

Michelle Chapman, Deputy Ward Manager, Older Persons Mental Health Services

How it all started

Michelle left school wanting to go into care having been a member of St John Ambulance since the age of 11. It’s also in her blood – Michelle’s mother is also a mental health nurse with the Trust.

Starting with the Trust as a Health Care Assistant at The Frank Lloyd unit in 2008, her commitment was rewarded as she was seconded to train as a mental health nurse exactly a year later.

“I worked with people with learning disabilities and mental illness and found the patients challenging but the work rewarding and wanted to know more about their illnesses and how I could help them.”

“After qualifying in 2012 I worked at Darland House and then the Orchards ward as a staff nurse in August 2013, becoming acting deputy manager in August 2014. I went on to do a secondment to the Maidstone CMHSOP team in March 2015 for seven months before returning to The Orchards as Deputy Ward Manager in Oct 2015.”

Michelle has taken full advantage of the Trust’s commitment to staff training by becoming a fully qualified mental health nurse. Now her passion for working with older people is helping her continue her studies. “I am currently undertaking dementia degree modules. Once I’ve completed that I will look at a course with the NHS Leadership Academy. I haven’t looked any further than that but I’m sure there will be something!”

“The staff here are amazing and have supported me greatly to get to where I am now. They are highly skilled and experienced and are an asset to the Trust. Work in this area can be challenging at times but it’s great to be able to make a difference to the patients and their families.”

The Trust encourages staff to help shape services and following a staff member’s suggestion to introduce a more therapeutic way of working with patients and family, Michelle and her team are implementing a pilot which sees an improved way of working within their service line.

“We’ve had some great feedback already. Families feel more connected and can see how we are working with their loved ones. It’s a really great opportunity to show how some simple changes can have a huge impact on the families and the services the Trust provides.” 

Nikki Singh, Workforce Development Advisor

Nikki's career at KMPT

Nikki has been working for KMPT for nearly six years and during this time feels that she has grown both personally and professionally. Early on in her career, Nikki invested both time and money so that she could obtain her Level 7 Charted Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) HR qualification. This has allowed her to progress and develop.

She is now a Workforce Development Advisor and is responsible for supporting staff within our Forensic and Specialist Service to feel engaged and to make positive changes to the work environment.

Following her CIPD qualification, Nikki was keen to learn more and her thirst for knowledge continued. In April 2014 Nikki started the Mary Seacole programme, which is for NHS professionals who are in or are moving towards their first formal leadership or team management position. It leads to an NHS Leadership Academy award in Healthcare Leadership and a postgraduate certificate.

Nikki said: “I couldn’t have done either course without the support of work and my line manager. I was allocated time to study and encouraged to work hard. This has certainly made a difference to where I am now and has given me the confidence to achieve.”

nikki singh web

Claire Cloude, HR Business Partner and Service Manager

Claire’s career journey

A real sense of achievement is what continues to drive Claire Cloude to invest in her career, which has already gone from strength to strength.

Starting in HR fifteen years ago as an HR Coordinator, Claire has progressed to HR Business Partner and is also responsible for the day-to-day operational management of one of KMPT’s medium secure care, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation units.

During her time with the Trust Claire has taken every opportunity to progress. Early on in her career she studied for three years to become a fully qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the professional body for HR and people development, which enabled her to apply for, and be successful in securing, a management role.

In September 2012 she started a Diploma in Management Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University.

The course provided an introduction to the principles of management allowing Claire to apply the theory of the programme to her own experiences, whilst also providing potential for future progression in both study and career.

She said: “The course enhanced my credibility as a general manager and it helped me strengthen what I had learnt from experience.” In 2013, with her diploma under her belt Claire was ready for her next career challenge. In the July she took on the dual role of both HR Business Partner and TGU Service Manager, a role that she very much still enjoys. She added: “I love the variety that the job brings and the people management aspect. I see the link between our people management initiatives, which work to enhance staff morale and engagement to provide a positive patient experience.

“If you are prepared to work hard and shine, you will be supported to develop. I have a really supportive manager that pushed me, but it’s up to you to work hard and make an effort to stand out.”

claire cloude web

Dianne Tompsett, Nurse

Diane works on a very busy acute unit called Amherst Ward in Maidstone. Her role recently changed so she could use her general nursing skills and help improve the care of service users.

What do you like about your job?

My background is in general nursing and my role has changed recently to take advantage of my nursing skills. This is because there is a much greater focus on physical health now.

It’s very satisfying when I catch problems early when they might otherwise have gone unnoticed. 
Examples include several diabetic service users who didn’t understand what they were doing and why.
I do love my job – I’m doing what I do best and really helping service users to recover.

Would you recommend working for KMPT?

Yes, I’d definitely recommend people to apply. It’s a very supportive organisation and there are lots of opportunities to develop your skills.

Diane Tompsett

Jamie McKay, Deputy Ward Manager

Deputy Ward Manager for Woodlands Ward, Littlebrook Hospital, Jamie McKay is one of the Trust’s youngest managers. He applied for promotion after a year and nine months as a mental health nurse. He has spent time nursing in India and last year raised £3,700 for MIND by trekking along the Great Wall of China.

Why did you apply to work for KMPT?

I studied nursing at the University of Greenwich at Medway and completed three years with KMPT as a student nurse so I got a good feel for the organisation. I really appreciated the amount of support I was given as a student and a qualified nurse and, most importantly, KMPT is willing to take on newly qualified nurses.

I’m doing a job that helps people. Best of all I like to see people leave hospital and get on with their lives. I also like giving service users the best possible experience we can while they are in our care. I used to work as a general nurse in A&E but I much prefer working in mental health and the challenges it offers. My background in general nursing is really helpful though.

Jamie McKay

Angela Shorter, Lead Nurse (Specialist Care Group)

Angela Shorter is Lead Nurse within our Specialist Care Group and Matron at the new Mother and Baby Inpatient Unit (MBU) which is due to open in Dartford next summer. The MBU will be an extension of our successful Mother and Infant Mental Health Service (MIMHS).

Angela is a qualified mental health nurse and graduated from Canterbury Christchurch University in 1996.

She is the trust’s operational lead for the MBU and holds a number of responsibilities including overseeing the contractors following implementation of the agreed design plan and staff recruitment. Angela will also ensure that there are robust policies and procedures in place such as caring for babies to support the MBU.

Her hobbies include travelling, reading, cooking, going to the gym and walking, particularly with her dog, a blue Staffordshire bull terrier called Bella!

Angela said:

“The trust offers a lot of career development opportunities and there is considerable innovation going on across the organisation. Come and join us!”

To find out more about MIMHS visit: https://www.kmpt.nhs.uk/services/mother-and-infant-mental-health-service-mimhs/7156

AngelaS Photo work

Jack Mackenzie, Apprentice and Administrative Assistant

Jack Mackenzie apprenticeship

“New year, new job and a new me”

17 year-old Jack Mackenzie was in his second year of sixth form at Astor College in Dover studying A-levels in Business Studies, Maths and Sociology. Like many students, he was struggling to cope with the intense amount of coursework, which would leave him feeling stressed, overwhelmed and juggling a weekend job didn’t help matters.

The pressure became too much for him and he made his mind up to leave sixth form before completing his A-levels. He began looking for full time employment and it was during his search he came across a Business Administration apprenticeship online working for the trust.

Jack started working for the Dover and Deal Community Mental Health Team for Older People (CMHSOP) team at Coleman House while studying Business Administration. He had help and support to manage his coursework from tutor Anna Tindell from Lifetime Training; one of the UK's market leading training providers, offering apprenticeship programmes, recruitment services and training courses. The team were really supportive and he wasn’t just thrown in the deep end. He was able to continue with his coursework, whilst working alongside the team observing meetings, offices processes and caseloads.

He says: “I enjoyed my apprenticeship and working full time provides me with a better work-life balance. I work Monday to Friday for eight hours per day. I wasn’t in sixth form for eight hours a day, but I would spend three hours each night doing coursework.

He adds: “I wasn’t able to switch off or relax. I can now socialise with my friends and love having weekends to myself. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

The now 19 year-old, who lives in Dover, completed his year’s apprenticeship and following a successful interview has become a permanent member of staff. He now works for the team at Coleman House as an Administrative Assistant. He answers the phone, takes enquiries and types consultant’s letters.

Colleague Sarah May said: “Jack is a very popular member of the team, well regarded by all. He is a fantastic team player, works hard and deserves to progress to the next level.”

Jack said: “If anyone is thinking of doing an apprenticeship I say go for it! It is an excellent scheme and is an alternative option for people who might not like the academic lifestyle. I knew I didn’t want to go to college and this was the only door open to me. A few of my friends have also done apprenticeships and have found permanent jobs.”

Jack hopes to further develop his career working in administration for the trust.

For more information on apprenticeships, please visit: www.gov.uk/education/apprenticeships-traineeships-and-internships

For more information on Lifetime Learning, please visit: www.lifetimetraining.co.uk/about-us/