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Mental Health team named winners in the Royal College of Psychiatrists Awards


Ciaran Sharkey and Team at Royal College of Psychiatrists Awards

Mental Health team led by Dr Chris Sharkey, Consultant Psychiatrist and Lorna Akroyd, Principal Occupational Therapist have been announced winners in the Royal College of Psychiatrist national award for Quality Improvement team of the year 2022. This annual awards event was held in London recently.

The multidisciplinary team led by Dr Chris Sharkey and Lorna Akroyd and included core team members Nadine Moore, Mark Mooney, Nuala Campbell, Michaela McAuley and Brian Toner, were recognised for their quality improvement project in standardising the assessment process in adult mental health across the Western Trust.

Dr Chris Sharkey, Consultant Psychiatrist at the Western Trust explained:

“In Northern Ireland there has been a focus on the regional 10 year Mental Health Strategy working towards standardised high quality care. Locally our assessment process was not standardised and the ‘You in Mind (YIM) assessment documents have been coproduced regionally, however, not implemented here so a core team of multidisciplinary professionals volunteered to address this issue. Stakeholders were identified and champions self-selected themselves by expressed interest. Quality improvement methodology was used to help understand the existing system and introduce ideas of change. It was also important that the voice of the service user and coproduction work that had been done before was not lost. Our service user consultant who was involved in the design of this document was able to visit and engaged each team individually.

“Our project aim of “100% of assessments would be carried out using the ‘You in Mind (YIM) Framework by October 2021 across community adult mental health within the Western Trust. The journey of the patient through mental health services can be complex with assessment occurring at different points in their journey within different services. A robust and easily accessible initial assessment ensures that reassessment/review assessments are less time consuming due to reduced duplication. By standardising the assessment process the results have demonstrated that we have achieved 100% of our outcome measure and continue to measure compliance to ensure sustained improvement.

“Use of the regional YIM Framework in community teams sets the foundation for quality high standard assessments, improves accessibility within our ICT system and is user-friendly in design. Staff and service users shared positive feedback on the new assessment framework highlighting positive experiences of the new process. Throughout this project, use of face to face workshops and more frequent virtual meetings helped to build a network of improvers within adult mental health within the Western Trust with learning and success shared and celebrated along the way. We are honoured to win this award and would wish to commend the other finalists and excellent projects going on across the UK which will greatly benefit patient’s mental health journey for the future.”

This award recognises the pivotal role that psychiatric teams play in making improvements in services for mental and/or physical health through the use of formal quality improvement approaches. The team used an evidence-based approach to deliver on their project and applied robust QI methodology and good data to bring about positive change.

Colleen Harkin, Assistant Director for Adult Mental Health Services at the Western Trust said:

“This is a fantastic achievement for our adult mental health team across the Western Trust. I would wish to congratulate all the staff for their outstanding commitment and dedication to supporting patients requiring mental health care and treatment. The learning from this project will be reflected to the regional YIM group and hopefully contribute positively to the rollout of the remaining YIM documents across Northern Ireland.”