Back to the floor in West Sussex
I was recently asked at a staff induction how often people from the Executive spent any time in frontline services, and how much we really knew about the experiences of Change Grow Live (CGL) frontline workers.
So rising to the challenge, I spent a fascinating day shadowing one of our nursing colleagues in a local Recovery Service.
As will be a familiar situation, the service has been affected by some reductions in funding, leading to higher case-loads and increased demands. The regulatory framework within which we now work is (rightly) much more stringent than in my days of front line service delivery and first line management. What was both familiar and striking was that our clients were in many cases still facing the issues of poor housing, employment and unsafe peer groups, exacerbated in numerous cases by poor mental health.
The situation within this service was further heightened as they are in the midst of a re-tendering exercise and are naturally anxious.
Despite all of that, what I was both struck by and inspired by was the absolute compassion, empathy and determination shown by the whole staff team who were absolutely focused on effective engagement, promoting health, wellbeing and recovery.
Our Peer Mentors were running the reception area and co-facilitating recovery groups; workers were assessing new clients and visiting others in hospital and rehabs; the service user council were meeting; and our clinical colleagues were ensuring that people's health and wellbeing and mental health were being appropriately treated. I watched staff liaising continually with local partners from mental health services, other treatment services and around safeguarding concerns.
The service was lively, busy and at times frenetic. In contrast the staff demonstrated a calm, considered and consistent approach that welcomed in the service users and created the space and time for them to pause, reflect and focus upon their recovery journey's.
Hopefully I didn't get in the way too much, hopefully the staff there recognise my view of the service and hopefully I'll be invited back.