A Year in Review

29 December 2017

As we come to the end of 2017 we wanted to write to offer our appreciation to all our service users, stakeholders and partner organisations for what has been achieved at the Trust in the last year, and highlight the hard work and commitment from staff which has been central to that.

Family leaving Tavistock Centre

Across the entire NHS there is a perpetual demand to ‘do more with less’, and it is to the credit of our staff that we continue to provide excellent service to our patients in the face of these ongoing constraints. In addition to workload pressures experienced across the Trust, we also recognise that staff are being asked to hold a degree of uncertainty about accommodation, both in our current surroundings and the possibility of moving to a new site in the future.

Part of the reason space is a recurring issue for the Trust comes from a positive place and is a reflection of the strength of the Trust's reputation and legacy of excellence that sees us as a place where people want to come to work and to study. Every year we see more students want to study with the Trust, and Trust experts asked to lead on new and innovative projects. All teams across the Trust continue to deliver excellent care for our service users, and it was great to see several of our staff and teams formally recognised with recognition from their peers this year.

Our Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team were highly commended in the 2017 Learning Technologist of the Team Awards, competing against large TEL teams from major universities from the UK and abroad. The excellent work of our Camden adolescent intensive support service (CAISS), which supports at-risk young people, was also recognised with a nomination for the Nursing Times Awards ‘team of the year’ category. And our ground breaking Mentalisation Based Therapy project, which treats violent offenders with antisocial personality disorder, was shortlisted for the prestigious 2017 Health Service Journal awards, in the innovation in mental health category.

Our education and training offer continues to be a vital part of life at the Tavistock and Portman, and this year we saw a record number of first year students join the Trust.  We thank all our tutors and visiting lecturers for their diligence and dedication to their students. This year we also established the National Workforce Skills Development Unit, a specialist team to look at provision of national training to support Health Education England to address the workforce requirements of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.

We welcomed this year the Charing Cross adult gender service to the Trust, taking on the interim stewardship of the Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) and welcoming GIC staff to the Trust. Gender identity was the theme of our Annual General Meeting, with the highlight being a panel discussion involving staff and services users from the GIC and our Gender Identity Development Service for young people.

The Trust continues to enjoy a high national media profile, and we would like to thank all the clinicians who have made time for media interviews and documentary projects over the year. Contributing to the public discourse can help shape the future of mental health provision, and we’re proud of the influence and reach of our Trust. Building on this, we have now agreed an External Affairs Strategy which we hope will add focus to this work going forward.

Our innovative Family Drug and Alcohol Courts continue to be a success story, helping vulnerable families reunite and supporting cessation of harmful substances, and it was pleasing to see this track record of success acknowledged with funding to expand the service to help more people in 2018, within London and across the UK. 

We played host to Members of the Health and the Education Select Committees in March, joining with commissioners and service users to hold a special event at Regent High School. Regent High is one of the ten secondary schools and 43 primary schools where we run Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. It is heartening to see in the recent CAMHS Green Paper that this evidence has influenced plans and that the Government is taking seriously the need to improve access to support for children and young people’s mental health. The opening of this consultation presents a vital opportunity for the Trust to draw on our expertise working with children and adolescents in education settings, and ensure the Government takes an evidence based approach to provision of CAMHS that best serves the needs of the community. We will continue to contribute to shaping future services for young people, and seek to improve public policy in line with our mission and values in key areas of Tavistock and Portman expertise.

Also in Camden, our Patient and Public Involvement department worked with Camden Council and the social enterprise Owls this year to set up problem solving booths, a bold community initiative to start discussion about mental health in public spaces. We’ve also partnered with Fitzrovia Youth in Action and Mind in Camden to support a new peer mentoring service for young people in Camden.

This year also marked the beginning of two important strategies to address change within the Trust. We launched our Race Equality Strategy for 2017-2020 in October this year, aiming to promote equality of opportunity across the organisation. The Strategy was developed through consultation with staff across the Trust and focusses on race equality in our workforce, setting out the actions required to tackle areas of concern in our current performance and promote diversity at all levels of our organisation and across all areas of our work. Also in October the Trust celebrated Black History Month with a series of events and activities for all staff to be involved in which included talks, poetry, food and art. Earlier in the year, we also launched the Organisational Development and People Strategy 2017-2020, which outlines the Trust’s commitment to expanding the number of opportunities for growth and development. The publication of these strategies marks just the first step in changing the organisational culture of the Trust, and will act as a route map to guide us through the change.

We would also like to recognise the contribution of our administration and support staff without whom it would not be possible to deliver the high quality clinical and educational services that we do. We are aware of the amount of change that people have had to cope with across the year and are grateful for the constructive way people have responded to this.

We began this review in praise of our staff, and it is with great sadness that we must end by reflecting on the untimely loss of two valued colleagues, Louise Emanuel and Jonathan Bradley. Louise was a consultant child and adolescent psychotherapist of international repute who had a gift for helping damaged children and their parents and was recognised for her pioneering role in setting up early intervention services abroad. Jonathan made a tremendous contribution to the Trust across clinical services and training, to the Child Psychotherapy Discipline and the Child Psychotherapy Training and to Group Relations Conferences. Both will be greatly missed.

With our very best wishes for the New Year, 


Paul Jenkins, Chief Executive

Paul Burstow, Chair

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