Day in the Life of a Trustee Director #1

Mike Wash - Trustee Director of The Retreat since 2012, gives us an insight into what life is like for a Trustee Director of The Retreat.

Here I am again - careful not to knock down the students in their own ear pod worlds as I negotiate the avenue of cars hoping to find a space not too far away!

Interesting and varied week this week.

Starting with what’s called the 15 step Challenge - this is a way of killing two birds with one stone, getting the Directors a little closer to the realities of Retreat life and care on the units, at the same time doing it in a structured way where our first impressions are listened to and recorded constructively in the context of other visits aimed at offering feedback as to whether we meet Care Quality Commission Standards.

We visited George Jepson and Katherine Allen units - our impressions?  Intensive, hard, challenging work by professional caring staff, working in an environment not ideal but making the best of what we have.  Plans are in place for my fellow Directors to visit other units in due course - thanks to the teams - very welcoming and helpful.

Less exciting but just as important, meeting to prepare for the Governance Committee, a key meeting to ensure all our risks and standards of care relating to patient experience are well managed and the best they can be.  It’s a tough meeting and I chair it.  It used to last three and a half hours but now we have restructured our meetings and are clearer as to how governance is managed.  It's much more efficient now and we manage it in two hours, still have to be on my toes as the Senior Team are there and we report direct to the Board. That meeting is imminent so next blog I might be able to say something about how it went.

Another hat I wear is as a Mental Health Act Associate Manager.  I, with the help of Nicola Convy, manage a team of external managers (about 16 of them) who are called in (three at a time) when there is a need to hold a formal hearing regarding the detention of one of our patients (members of our community).   So I was in last week for two hearings, it is really important we ensure our patients have their needs and rights heard and are legally represented, it's a challenging process and especially for the patient who often chooses to attend.

Bumped into Bronwyn (Quaker Chaplain) this week, haven't seen her for ages - love the smile - and we had a quick catchup regarding what’s happening with the choir.  I did come to a few of the early sing alongs, great fun, wish we could get it off the ground.  Next step, a fresh approach involving some of our service users taking a lead.

I was waiting at one of our bus stops for a while when I eventually realised nothing was coming my way and it was an invitation to find out what was available - mmmm - I wonder how it’s going?

Looking forward to hearing how the listening process is going regarding how communications can improve.

I carry so many questions about us as an organisation and our future and passionately believe we can make a significant difference for individuals and influence the whole Mental Health Care Agenda.  More to come - watch this space.

Exciting times for us at The Retreat, hope I can share a little more later.

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