Nightingale Mental Health Team Wins National Award

News: Nightingale Hospital
Photo L-R: Rod Eldridge, consultant psychiatric nurse; Dr Derek Tracy, who was at the time a consultant psychiatrist and clinical director, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust and is now the medical director of West London NHS Trust; Professor Neil Greenberg, King’s College, London; Dr Mark Tarn, psychiatrist and clinical lead, West London NHS Trust.

The mental health team that supported healthcare staff, at London’s Nightingale Hospital, as they cared for patients during the covid-19 pandemic, has been awarded ‘Team of the Year’ by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The award recognises the pivotal role that psychiatric teams play in improving or innovating psychiatric services and care for working-age adults.

Under the lead of Professor Neil Greenberg, Dr Derek Tracy and Dr Mark Tarn were asked to design, implement, and run the 24/7 staff mental health support at the Nightingale Hospital.

In around three weeks, the team put in place an evidence-based stepped-care model that was then adopted by all Nightingale Hospitals across the UK during the pandemic and has since served as a model for staff well-being elsewhere.

Prof Greenberg, Professor of Defence Mental Health with King’s College London said “It was a real privilege to lead the London Nightingale Mental Health Team and work with amazing colleagues to design and implement an evidence-based plan to support the mental health of NHS staff providing care to critically ill patients during the early part of the pandemic. Whilst thankfully the hospital never needed to provide care to 1000s of patients, the plan we developed was used as a template for many Trusts across the country to help support amazing NHS staff working to provide the highest standards of care under incredibly challenging circumstances.”

Dr Tracy said “It’s a great privilege and honour to win this award, and have the work of the whole Nightingale Mental Health Team recognised in this way. A huge amount of work was done in an incredibly short amount of time to operationalise, staff, and run a novel 24/7 team in what was due to be the largest field hospital in the UK since the second world war. Fortunately, the Nightingale was never needed at anything like full capacity, but the experiences and learning from our team were rapidly disseminated nationally, as part of the wider pandemic response. Our tiered model of care for staff well-being has on-going lessons for us all, even when the pandemic ends.”

The Awards were started in 2009 to recognise individual psychiatrists at different stages of their careers and in different areas such as education, public communication and research, as well as psychiatric teams in different specialties.

Published on 11th November 2021