A celebration of Mind and Body care

Recognising outstanding contributions that Mind & Body Champions have made across the partnership.

Mind & Body Champions are advocates for the importance of treating mental and physical health as one, helping us to identify all the health needs of our patients and service users, and supporting them with the most appropriate treatment. Champions are part of a network of like-minded individuals, whom we support to improve mind and body care across south east London.

To celebrate the Champions Network’s fourth birthday and launch the new Quality Improvement Network, an event was hosted at the ORTUS on 16 March 2022 to bring together colleagues and expert leaders in academia and healthcare from across the partnership.

A number of individuals and services were presented awards by Sir Norman Lamb, Chair of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, for going above and beyond in making integrated care a reality. Outlined below are the winners and highly commended individuals and services across each award category:

Category: Champion who has advocated for the importance of mental health in a physical health setting.

Winner: Dr Victoria Metaxa, Intensive Care Consultant, King’s College HospitalDr Metaxa NHS Foundation Trust (KCH).

Dr Metaxa was recognised for her work with colleagues to establish and embed a psycho-social team within the critical care service at KCH. Previously, the service did not benefit from any embedded psychiatriy, psychology, or social care support and this innovative approach has proved extremely valuable for patients – after being established in June 2021, the service has now received over 400 referrals to date.

Dr Metaxa went far beyond her role as a physical health specialist to help address an unmet need for her patients, and continues to champion the importance of the team’s work.

Category: Champion who has advocated for the importance of mental health in a physical health setting.Dr Butler

Highly commended: Dr Jacqui Butler, Emergence Medicine Consultant and Clinical Lead, KCH Emergency Department.

Dr Butler takes an active role in improving the experience of mental health patients in a busy Emergency Department (ED) by chairing the ED Mental Health Steering Group, co-leading the Urgent and Emergency Care Working Group of the Mental Health Board, and by being actively involved in strategic approaches and operational decisions about mental healthcare in the KCH ED.  She has also been instrumental in implementing a number of quality improvement initiatives for mental health patients in the ED.

Her approach to supporting patients with mental ill-health within the busy emergency department is exemplary and she is a strong advocate for parity of esteem. Notably, Dr Butler also goes out of her way to model her approach and enthusiasm for mind and body care to her team and wider colleagues. She is always able to put the patient at the heart of her decision making.

Category: Champion who has advocated for the importance of physical health in a mental healthcare setting.Isobel Voss

Winner: Isobel Voss, Matron for older adult inpatients, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM)

Ms Voss has established a physical health teaching programme for support and nursing staff, delivered by junior doctors. This has been no easy task given staff shortages, and the pressures caused by the pandemic, but she has worked tirelessly to help improve the care and experiences of the patients on her ward.

Data collected before and after the teaching sessions has shown that the initiative has improved staff confidence in assessing, escalating, and managing the physical health concerns seen on the ward.  Setting up this teaching programme is not part of Isobel’s job description, but she demonstrated  unwavering commitment to improving patient care despite facing numerous challenges in doing so. Her efforts have also inspired others to do the same.

Category: Champion who has advocated for the importance of physical health in a mental healthcare setting.Health Check Liasion Project team

Highly commended: SLaM Health Check Liaison Project team.

The Health Check Liaison Project has been established to create opportunities to ensure the most marginalised patients with serious mental illness have improved access to annual physical health screens. The project has created opportunities for patients to have appointments at a range of convenient locations – at their homes, GP services, community mental health teams and others.

The physical health screen includes lifestyle questions, drug and alcohol assessments, smoking status, bloods and ECGs. All data is shared with primary care. To help yet further facilitate improved access to physical health checks, the project team has been trained in motivational interviewing techniques, and will soon include physical activity and lifestyle medicine training as part of their repertoire.

The awarding panel were impressed at the scope and scale of the work delivered by the project team, and were delighted to see that their efforts have meant a sharp increase in the number of physical health checks completed for service users with severe mental illness.

Category: Champion who has advocated for the importance of integrated mind and body care in the community.Emily McBrearty

Winner: Emily McBrearty, Sexual Health Nurse Practitioner, Camberwell Sexual Health Centre, KCH.

Ms McBrearty has recently led a two-year project, funded by the Burdett Trust, to improve the identification of unmet erectile dysfunction concerns in men with a diagnosis of serious mental illness under the care of community psychiatric services. As part of her role, Ms McBrearty has developed a much-needed education and training package to improve the confidence and knowledge of mental health clinicians to ask about erectile dysfunction concerns in their patients.

A dual diagnosis of SMI and erectile dysfunction can be highly stigmatising for patients, and challenging and changing staff behaviours in this area has been no small feat – especially given the challenges caused by the pandemic which hit part way through the project. Ms McBrearty has shown incredible commitment and perseverance to bring together clinicians and leaders from across SLaM and its partner organisations to deliver a considered and powerful resource.

Award 3: Champion who has advocated for the importance of integrated mind and body care in the community.

The awarding panel jointly decided to award two individuals as “Highly Commended” in this category.

Highly commended #1: Nicola Jones, Transformation Programme Manager, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.Nicola Jones

Ms Jones has helped deliver the multiple long-term conditions programme that aims to improve the experience of care of patients with multiple long-term conditions to provide more joined up care reducing their need to be seen by multiple clinicians across primary secondary and community care, including assessment and support for mental health needs.

Notably, the programme works at primary care network (PCN) level across primary and secondary care in Lambeth North PCN and partners, including primary care teams, speciality input, community, mental health and social care alongside analytics support to identify patient groups and provide data to inform progress. Ms Jones has successfully brought together multiple partners to develop a new workforce model to deliver coordinated care with a strengths-based approach to supporting teams.

Highly commended #2: Dr Di Aitken, Lambeth GP.Dr Aitken

As well as being a GP, Dr Aitken holds a number of additional positions including Governing Body Member and Assistant Clinical Chair, NHS South East London Clinical Commission Group; Co-Chair Designate, Lambeth Together Strategic Board; and Lambeth Clinical Lead, South East London Integrated Medicines Optimisation Committee.

Dr Aitken is a passionate advocate for mind and body care and a key driver for strategic activity in Lambeth, pushing a number of initiatives to support mind and body care. She leads a workstream on chronic pain, aiming to co-produce new community models to improve care and support those suffering from chronic pain with a focus on mind and body, inequality, impact of unemployment, exercise and prescribing.

Award 4: Champion who has advocated for the importance of staff health and wellbeing.SLaM Staff Suppot team

Winner: SLaM Staff Support Team.

The Staff Support Team at SLAM have been working throughout the pandemic to provide support for the entire workforce. Despite being only a small team of four, they have been able to expand and continuously deliver a range of evidence-based, humanistic approaches to staff support – covering both mental and physical health topics. Examples include co-ordinating and facilitating rest and recharge hubs for staff to attend, delivering education and training, and offering one to one support. The team has a proactive nature, going the extra mile to reach out to other teams, individuals, and departments that may be going through a difficult time, to provide bespoke support.

The SLaM staff support's teams efforts and values align strongly with the Mind & Body Programme, particularly in trying to upskill the workforce to understand the impact of looking after our mind and body simultaneously. Despite being a team of just four, the reach and tenacity displayed by them is clearly evident. Currently, the team are pulling together a wellbeing takeover for April as it is stress awareness month. They have been working to secure donations for goody bags for staff inclusive of healthy food options and are creating a timetable of events, including things such as Zumba, art therapy sessions, and webinars to name a few – all designed to support the ongoing health and wellbeing of their colleagues.

Hear more from Rawle Ragoobar, Deputy Lead, Staff Support Team, SLaM, about the important work of the Staff Support Team and what it means to win an award:


Interested in becoming a Mind & Body Champion? You can find out more and sign up here.