11th January 2018

In attendance: Rod C, Carolyn G, Angela D, Hazel & Dick L, James L, Margaret & John I, Terry G, Geraldine M,  Norma Young, Tim & Francis W. Zib L,

Sadly Terry reported the news that Lawrie Sale had lost her fight with cancer and passed away in the early hours of Christmas day. Her funeral was earlier in the day with Angela, Dick and Terry attending. The service was spiritually moving and very well attended (200 +) indicating her great popularity. Lawrie and Chris had made a request that any donations be made to The Hospital of St Francis. The group agreed a sum of £25 and Tim was charged with organising the payment on our behalf.

Apologies: Sue C, Brian L, Brian U, Nick M, Chris S, Carenza W.

Minutes of last meeting – 2nd November 2017 (there were no minutes for December)

Matters arising- there were none

Guest speaker – Jo Clack of Rethink Mental Illness


Jo began by stating that there would be no pre-planned structure to his presentation but would be prepared to go in whatever direction the group felt they wanted.

He outlined a little bit of the history of the Charity circa 1970 (long before Care in the community which started in the 1990s).  It began following a letter in the Times talking about lack of support.  In more recent times it changed its name to Rethink Mental illness.

Jo reported that he has been a carer since the early 1980s for his mother (unknown diagnosis ) and his sister who had episodic bipolar so he experienced the process from sectioning, discharge and then home after care. At the time he didn’t recognise himself as a carer he just got on with it between crises.

With this experience he said that he knows what it is like to receive little or no support.  He was a support worker for the Trust some 20 years ago and enjoyed working 1 to 1 with people in need. He spent some time working for Mind but has spent recent years working for Rethink Mental Illness

Jo Identified Rethink’s resources in Herts as 2 people working part time and based in Ware in the east of the county.  His own responsibilities as a carer’s worker include carrying out 1 to 1 advice to carers in planning, goal setting. However, his main responsibility is to run the Caring and Coping courses across the county.

Jo said that the course is partly about providing information but more importantly it is about connecting carers and encouraging them to share their experiences.  Thinking about his sister and the prevailing culture of the time ie where most family involvement was deemed unhelpful.  He was now aware that things could have been so much better and the course has become his passion and went on to discussing various issues. The backdrop to delivery of Trust services which the course explores is focused on the successful implementation or otherwise of the triangle of care namely:

  • The principles of this approach were very welcome but it was felt that there remains a disconnect
  • The suggestion by Francis that it must be embedded in Trust policy to make sure it is implemented was well received.
  • Acknowledgement of the negative effect that confidentiality can have on implementation was voiced
  • Resources would likely be wasted because of family non involvement
  • Margaret’s observation was that In-patient staff were more aware than Community Services staff
  • The question was raised as to how a second gold star could be awarded to the Trust for implementing the triangle of care?
  • Ownership of its delivery by Trust officers was not at a high enough level in the hierarchy
  • The Trust still needs to be regularly challenged about its lack of implementation
  • It was recognised that family dynamics also need to be addressed in the delivery of services. Whether these effects were good or bad.

Dick sent the discussion in different direction stating that in his opinion we should NOT accept the Trust’s regular excuse that they have insufficient money to deliver services.  Instead we should continue to hold them to account. Particularly if they wish to be seen as “Best in Country” in the eyes of the CQC.

Discharge from Trust Services back to the GP is rarely accompanied with relevant information that would be needed by ongoing services who can help (ie Mind, Rethink or others).  The suggestion was made that a personal discharge plan, even if only for the short term, would be very useful to support workers who pick up the individual following discharge from Trust Services.  The suggestion for a Discharge Handbook (or Moving-on Handbook) was raised but not discussed in any detail.

Dick introduced some upcoming work with Kate Linhart (Head of Social Work and Safeguarding at the HPFT) dealing with the issues around Carer protection.

Hazel reported that she had attended a Risk conference which was mostly about managing risks to staff rather than carers or service users.

New Year nibbles – These were well received with thanks to Hazel

 Any Other Business

Dick asked the group to give some thought to future speakers. With no decisions taken, discussions and suggestions included inviting Kate Linhart, a Psychologist, a GP.  Similarly some early thinking about the summer day out would also be welcome.

Terry raised the issue about the blog section of our web site asking for people to contribute

Terry & Dick showed examples of the caringforcarersindacorum.com business card with their personal details and website address included.

Date of next meeting – 1st February with 3 speakers: Ian Pearce & Rev Richard Allen from HPFT and Julie Nicolson from Mind