Two individuals from Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust have won awards at the prestigious RCPsych North West Division Awards 2021.
Avril Clarke, Service User Representative and Governor, has been awarded North West Service User of the Year and Dr Kishen Neelam, Lead Consultant Psychiatrist has won the North West Division Consultant of the Year Award.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists is the professional medical body responsible setting and raising standards of psychiatry in the United Kingdom, and supporting psychiatrists throughout their careers from training through to retirement.
The regional awards recognise the amazing stories of individuals across the North West who have contributed to support mental health care.
Winners were announced at the virtual awards event with the 2021 Dean’s Lecture on Thursday 25 November.
Dr Alice Seabourne, Medical Director, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am really delighted that Avril and Kishen have received these awards. I’m always so impressed in our service users and staff and this is great recognition for two individuals who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic. They should rightly be proud of all they have done, as we all are here at the Trust.”
North West Division Service User of the Year Award – Avril Clarke
Avril Clarke is a Service User Representative and Governor for Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, based in Trafford.
Over the past 12 months Avril has made an invaluable contribution to service delivery and improvement by increasing her volunteer activity supporting the Trust’s response to the pandemic. She put herself forward as a Community Responder supporting people in isolation, and a Transport Volunteer delivering essential PPE supplies to services and IT equipment to staff working from home.
Avril has supported Trafford Community Services establishing a Service User Forum, enabling the Trust to listen to a broad range of experiences, and engaged in local Community Transformation Programmes representing people with personality difficulties. She has also co-facilitated training for staff, service users and carers within the Trust’s Recovery Academy.
She has had an active membership of the Trust’s Park House Development Project Team overseeing the building of a new mental health inpatient unit, offering a modern, therapeutic environment for people with severe mental illness. Avril has shared both her lived experience and creative mind to develop the plans for the build and the services to be delivered from it.
Her nominators have praised her commitment to improving mental health services, particularly for people with a diagnosis of personality disorder, and have admired her honesty, openness and emotional intelligence. Avril has made a huge contribution to changing the culture of mental health services.
North West Division Consultant of the Year Award - Dr Kishen Neelam
Dr Kishen Neelam, based at Barnett House in Bolton, is a Lead Consultant Psychiatrist at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.
He has been praised for his approach to leading GMMH’s mental health services across Bolton, Salford, Trafford, Manchester and Wigan during the pandemic, and his strong passion and commitment to ensuring Greater Manchester’s communities continue to receive vital mental health support and treatment throughout.
During the pandemic, Dr Neelam led on a research study looking into the impact of pandemics in people with pre-existing mental illness. The results found that this group experienced significantly higher levels of anxiety and depression during a pandemic; which has had a direct impact on the care and support offered widely by mental health services during this time.
Dr Neelam led on the design of a digital Management and Supervision Tool (MAST) to support community mental health staff to manage risk and improve patient safety across the Trust. In June 2021, he led on the successful implementation of MAST in 15 Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) across Greater Manchester.
Dr Neelam was also the mental health lead for the Greater Manchester Care Record (GMCR). The GMCR brings together key patient medical information (from acute hospitals, GMMH, Local authorities and GPs) into one easy to access portal. This means the patient’s full medical profile can be considered and the most appropriate approach to care and treatment can be provided, wherever patients receive support.