by Louise Nicholson, Clinical Nurse Lead for Physical Health (Oxford – Adult and Older Adult Mental Health Wards)

If you are wondering what the frisson of anticipation and excitement in the air around Oxford on Wednesday 18th May was all about – read on! 90 clinicians working across Community and Inpatient services in Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust congregated at the Kassam Football Stadium in Oxford for their annual ‘Physical Health across Mental Health services’ Conference – ‘Connecting for a Better Life’. After the past 2 years, the day was a welcome opportunity for different teams to get together face to face to catch up, network and showcase some of the innovations taking place across clinical services in the Trust.

The day comprised of a selection of keynote speakers and good news stories from clinical teams.

  • Britta Klinck, Deputy Chief Nurse, who gave a personal, heartfelt story to illustrate the necessity of linking both physical and mental health care for service users.
  • Helen Butlin delivered a refresher on the work of Equally Well and Centre for Mental Health and a reminder on how to access the online resources available from the organisation.
  • Sheila Hardy from the Charlie Waller Trust joined the conference virtually to explain what physical health conditions our service users are at risk of developing and provided case studies taken from practice.
  • Ian Callaghan provided an update on the physical health work of Rethink and spoke from his personal experience of being a service user.
  • Gemma Harris provided a much-needed update on the NHS Screening Programme which has since enabled staff to facilitate bowel cancer screening checks on long stay patients who had missed the opportunity to participate due to their inpatient stay.
  • Simon Jones, Consultant Learning Disability Nurse, shared the Trust’s new ‘Learning Disability and Physical Health Charter’.
  • One of the highlights of the day was an enthusiastic discussion on ‘Making Every Contact Count’ which provided the opportunity for conference attendees to undertake a brief ‘making every contact count’ intervention with another attendee.

One of the takeaway points from the day was the necessity of providing interventions – intervene, don’t just screen!

Showcase sessions from clinical areas included:

  • Early Intervention Service feeding back their experience of using point of care testing to check HbA1c and lipid profiles which not only allow results to be given to the patients at the time of testing but also partnership working over interventions to be commenced.
  • Jay Formento, working in inpatient older adults, shared his Creative Movement project about helping patients to be active and, from the opposite end of the age span,
  • CAMHS services from Marlborough shared their work around their sexual safety project with young people and weekly Physical Health Wellbeing Clinic.

Coffee and lunch provided enabled attendees to visit the various stands provided by services from within the Trust – Learning and Development, Library, Resuscitation Department, Dental Services and our Trust partners – Live Well Stay Well Bucks, Turning Point Drug and Alcohol Services and Active Oxfordshire. Much discussion was had over the alcohol measurer resource provided by Turning Point!

Next year our plans are bolder with a week of virtual and face to face events focusing on what nursing and allied health professional interventions can be undertaken to make a difference to the lives of our service users – watch this space!