Dr Parveen Kumar Sharma is a Consultant Psychiatrist for GMMH’s Wigan Division and Reginal Advisor for the Royal College of Psychiatrist’s North West Division.
He’s part of GMMH’s Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Teams in Wigan and Leigh taking on the daily challenge of keeping patients out of hospital by providing the right support, at the right time and in the right place.
“Having joined psychiatry, I soon realised how the outcomes of a patient’s journey depended on them getting the right support at the right time, in the right place. Support is offered by mental health professionals in a multi-disciplinary setting, therefore for me it was important to have robust clinical leadership across the mental health teams to deliver safe and a high standard of care.”
One of the reasons Parveen chose to work at Wigan and Leigh’s mental health service is the collegial atmosphere. “The greatest asset is a close-knit consultant body which takes care of each other, the working environment is so better because of it. Operational colleagues work cohesively with the consultants and the relationship of mutual respect. The team are highly motivated and enthusiastic about their work."
You’d be joining a very collaborative and caring team of consultants, who are passionate about patient care and staff wellbeing.
The aim of the crisis teams is to keep patients out of hospital by providing intensive support. Each team is multidisciplinary, and includes nurses, social workers, health care workers and psychologists as well as consultant psychiatrists.
“My day begins with our multidisciplinary team meeting, where we discuss all the new assessments, patients who are not engaging, any pending or potential Mental Health Act (MHA) assessments and touch base with colleagues about how they are doing. Then I do assessments of most unwell patients and at mid-day join the admission huddle meeting. It allows discussion between all the services - community, urgent care and inpatient - to consider the best and most appropriate care for patients. On a weekly basis, we have team leadership and quality improvement meetings. I carry out management activities in the later part of the day.”
Parveen is regional advisor for the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RC Psych) North West Division and responsible for overseeing medical education. He typically has one doctor in training and medical students spending time with him for some of the week, seeing patients with him. “Each afternoon I offer clinical supervision to my trainee and about once a week I have medical students attending my clinics. There are ample opportunities for research and teaching with a cohort of third, fourth and fifth year students. This provides an opportunity to moult attitudes towards mental health and illness in the formative years of medical students.”
Parveen, who has been with GMMH for over two years, is already benefiting from the Trust’s approach to continuing professional development and helping staff grow as leaders. “There are many opportunities to pick extra activities which are remunerated appropriately. We have senior consultants who are willing to provide mentorship and promote leadership and management opportunities for newly joining colleagues.
“I’m involved with the College Centre for Quality Improvement (CCQI) of the RC Psych, which works with mental health services to assess and improve the quality of care they provide. I also sit on the advisory group of the Accreditation for community mental health services (ACOMHS), which looks at the accreditation of community mental health teams across the country and works with staff to assure and improve the quality of community mental health services for people with mental health problems, and their carers. I am also member of the NHS Benchmarking Network’s clinical Reference Group. All of this helps inform my practice and the service we deliver.”
The team Parveen leads are always looking at ways to enhance the service they provide to patients, and their carers, and improve patient pathways and staff wellbeing. “The admission huddle was a novelty when I first joined the service. I established consultant leadership for huddle meetings and got all urgent care and inpatient consultant colleagues to chair by rotation. This is helping all teams in working holistically to admission goals and addressing alternatives to admission before patients are admitted. We have clear, transparent discussions with community mental health and urgent care teams that inform our practices.”
Having robust clinical leadership and collaborative and innovative teams helps staff in Wigan and Leigh stay motivated. “We are amply supported by colleagues across our teams and by the senior leadership team of the directorate. We lead the Trust in implementing safer care through The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) National Early Warning Score, MHA documentation and the Personality Disorder pathway.
“We have pioneered GP-Psychiatrist interaction across urgent care with teaching webinars and email clarifications on medication etc thus avoiding unnecessary referrals. There is really meaningful involvement of carers in the treatment of service users, and we don’t have patients waiting for admission, unlike many parts of the NHS.”
Parveen is based at Atherleigh Park, a five-ward mental health hospital in Leigh, which has set a new standard for mental healthcare excellence in the UK. Leigh has a lot to offer and is a great place to work.
“Atherleigh Park has all the modern facilities of a £40m mental health hospital and ample, free car parking. The hospital boasts 64 en-suite bedrooms for vulnerable adults with mental health problems, including 8 Psychiatry Intensive Care Unit beds and a 26-bed unit providing short stay intermediate care for patients with dementia and memory conditions.
“Atherleigh Park's facilities include a sports hall, gym, outdoor courtyards, therapy rooms, landscaped gardens, a nature trail and a cafe for patients, visitors, staff and the general public. Wards have been named after Leigh's mining heritage.
“Just across the road from Atherleigh Park is the Parsonage Retail Park - a modern shopping park, with Costa and M&S, a Sainsbury’s and Aldi supermarkets, other retail outlets and several places to eat and drink, so you have all the amenities you need. They also offer free parking for shoppers and electric vehicle charging stations. Leigh Sports Village and Pennington Flash Country Park are also nearby.”