As we reach the end of 2022, our new Chief Executive, Michael Holland, and our Chief Clinical Operating Officer and Deputy CEO Sally Hodges, reflect on the year. They offer thanks to our hardworking and committed staff, and appreciation to our service users, patients, students, partners, and all the stakeholders who provide invaluable contributions to our Trust community.
It has been a busy and change-filled year here at the Tavistock and Portman. We welcomed John Lawlor as our new Trust Chair, following the end of Paul Burstow’s second and final term. In September we wished farewell to Paul Jenkins, who retired after eight years as Chief Executive and I joined the Trust as the new CEO.
At the beginning of the year, we published a review of our Board Governance, alongside an Implementation Plan. The review identified a number of areas that required development, whilst recognising that there is a very exciting agenda available to our Trust Board focussing on the right things. We have spent the year improving our governance and welcoming some excellent new Executive and Non-Executive Directors to our Board, and are looking forward to strengthening leadership and management further across the Trust in 2023.
Change has also been seen in our Directorate of Education and Training: following the easing of covid restrictions we were delighted to welcome our students back to the building for in-person teaching this year. We also enjoyed celebrating the achievements of our graduating students from 2020, 2021 and 2022 at our graduation ceremony in spring. The day featured several insightful and emotional addresses, including from Dr Jacqui Dyer MBE who was awarded an Honorary Doctorate and Hilary Solomon who gave an address on behalf of Mike Solomon, her late husband, who was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate. We were also proud to launch our new Education and Training website, that compellingly sets out the stall for our distinctive clinician-tutor offer.
We continue to work to place equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of all we do as a Trust and are committed to become an anti-racist organisation with the publication of our anti-racist statement. It acknowledges the difficulties faced by our Black, Asian, and other minoritised ethnic groups within the Trust, and outlines our commitment to tackling structural racism and discrimination. We would also like to take some space to remember Haringey Thinking Space, which after 10 years met for the last time earlier this year. Thinking Space was developed at the Tavistock and Portman in 2002 as a safe forum for staff and trainees to think about race, culture and diversity in the self and other. These co-created community spaces prioritised equality of access for disadvantaged groups.
Another change was announced around our gender identity development service for young people. Following a further publication from the Cass Review, NHS England announced a new regional model for gender care for children and young people. Our Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) will be closing as part of this new model. While the loss of this valued, caring and resilient staff group will be felt across the Trust, the new model, once fully operational, should increase capacity and improve access to care. We wish to especially highlight the hard work of all our GIDS staff and their commitment to ensuring the best care possible for children and young people; the expertise that resides within the current GIDS service and the endocrine services based in Leeds and UCLH will be critical to the successful formation of the new Phase 1 services and achieving a smooth transition for patients.
Unfortunately, waiting times for care across the NHS, but especially mental health services, can be long, even more so following increased demand since the Covid-19 pandemic, and we recognise the distress this can cause. We therefore created the NCL Waiting Room, an online platform to support children, young people, and their families, to develop self-care strategies to manage their mental health while they wait for their first session. The platform also helps clinicians gather information about the child’s mental health before their first appointment to help offer more tailored support.
Headlines from Patient Public Involvement (PPI) this year: we continue to hold a quarterly Trustwide Forum attended by senior staff and co-chaired by an ex-service user or carer representative to discuss service and policy developments at Trust level. In the past year we have discussed Quality priorities for services, and shared insights on valuing qualitative data and social outcomes of treatment with our previous CEO, Paul Jenkins. The group also discussed communications with patients around ending of treatment and face-to-face and online treatment options following the pandemic. Within our Directorate of Education and Training service user lecturers and advisors have continued to develop course content and teach and advise students and staff. A new task and finish group, chaired by our Clinical Services Director, Dr Rachel James, aims to create a shared co-production strategy across the North Central London Integrated Care System focusing on children and young people. Across our adult services, our work continues including the Trauma Service’s successful work with its service user panel. Amongst other work in the directorates the GIDS PPI leads have worked with their stakeholder group to consider the implications of the Cass Review and understand the NHS England consultation, with one session attended by NHSE representatives.
Now that more activity has returned to the building, our art group has been able to host several exhibitions this year, including ‘The internal world and inner journeys’. This open exhibition combined contributions from professional artists alongside our staff, students and service users on the theme of mental health.
The year closed out with an inspection of our school, Gloucester House, by Ofsted. We want to thank our staff at Gloucester House for all their work and resilience in supporting this. I’m sure everyone at the Trust will be keeping our fingers crossed for a good result.
We wish all of our staff, service users, partners, stakeholders, and local community a positive start to 2023.
– Michael Holland, Chief Executive Officer
– Sally Hodges, Clinical Chief Operating Officer