Restell: “It affected me deeply. Acute psychiatric healthcare gives you life at its most raw, saddest, and most uplifting.” Photo: Stefano Cagnoni
MiP chief executive Jon Restell told delegates the very survival of the NHS depended on managers working under intense pressure and “walking a tightrope between compassion and resources”.
Restell spoke about a day he spent with MiP member Sandie Belcher, acute care co-ordination centre manager at South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust.
“That day I spent at Springfield Hospital won’t leave me in a hurry,” he said. “It affected me deeply… Acute psychiatric healthcare gives you life at its most raw, saddest, and most uplifting.”
Restell described how Sandie and her team worked under intense pressure to manage emergency admissions across five London boroughs. “I can only describe what I felt as pride and awe,” he said.
“And I remember wondering if I could even start to do this job.”
Restell warned NHS leaders not to repeat the mistakes of the Lansley reforms during the next round of upheavals triggered by STPs. “People like Sandie will lose their jobs. The NHS will lose their skills, and will need to re-hire and plug the gaps at huge cost. And people like Sandie will lose their focus on the job in hand,” he said.
He also called on employers to consider what they could do for managers like Sandie: “Give her a do-able job, train her, listen to her, reward her fairly, and treat her with compassion and justice.”