Professor Steven Pryjmachuk elected vice-chair

The MHNAUK group has elected a new vice-chair for the period 2015 and 2016. In a field of excellent candidates Professor Steven Pryjmachuk has received the majority of votes and has been declared elected by our returning office Dr Ben Hannigan.
Steven is an experienced mental health nurse and senior academic at the University of Manchester. He has been a group member for many years and has significant experience in both education and research fields of our profession. We wish him well as he supports our incoming chair Professor Joy Duxbury and later when he takes on the role of chair from 2017.

Michael Coffey
Chair of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK

The future of nurse education

MHNAUK group members were feverishly emailing our member list yesterday in response to news “exclusive” in Health Service Journal (pay wall) yesterday. This story followed an interview between HSJ’s Shaun Lintern Lord Willis who is leading the Shape of Caring review for Health Education England. The article also follows previously trailed statements emanating from this review at the English Chief Nursing Officers summit last month. The common message being relayed is that there is considered to be no longer a need for 4 branches of nursing and that all nurses should be educated first in “rigorous general nursing” before spending the final year in their specialism and a further year training and learning skills in practice with their new employer in a form of extended preceptorship. As a group we see this as a slippery slope to the kind of generic travesty that has befallen nursing in other countries and which many colleagues in countries such as Australia have long regretted.
It is true that the Shape of Caring report has yet to be published and we do not what advice Lord Willis and his team have taken, they certainly have not consulted with this group of nurse academics, but we are concerned about the language being used and what appears to be a softening up approach prior to fabled better future for nurse education that ignores the evidence and fails to involve all stakeholders. Importantly we see this as including people who use mental health nursing services and their carers too.

Below is our response in full sent to HSJ today and which may appear in some form should they decide to follow-up the the news story.

Michael Coffey
Chair of MHNAUK

11th December 2014

Dear Sir

Shaun Lintern writes in the Health Service Journal (11th December 2015) that Lord Willis, chair of the Shape of Caring review envisages changes to nurse education that would see the loss of the current branches of nursing. One of those fields is mental health nursing. Those who practise in this area provide skilled compassionate care to some of the most marginalised and stigmatised people in society. We write on behalf of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK a group consisting of representatives of 65 Higher Education Institutions providing education and research in mental health nursing. As people long experienced in this field we are disappointed though not surprised to read your article presenting these views on the future of nurse education. We are disappointed because the evidence for the changes that Lord Willis claims are needed is largely non-existent. We are not surprised because we have been here before and can see that despite claims to the contrary, there is no evidence that this future for nurse education will deliver what it promises.

Nurses account for the highest number of professionals providing mental health care; the median average number of nurses per 100,000 of the population working in mental health is 5.8, more than all other professionals combined (WHO, 2011), making mental health nurses pivotal to the delivery of the WHO action plan. None of this is likely with a generic curriculum.

To be clear “the greater element of generalism” (which presumably means adult nursing) has been tried previously in the UK and found wanting. Internationally generalism has failed to deliver better care for people with mental health problems. The effect will be to dilute mental health nursing when there is increasing evidence that specialist knowledge, values and skills are required in the care of people with a range of long-term conditions and dementia. We remain unclear from your article what precisely is being proposed though our favoured suggestion would be for nurses to spend two years rigorously learning how to interact with people in compassionate ways that promote dignity and respect (core mental health nursing skills if you will) before launching themselves into the cold clinical world of high technology nursing.

The evidence from abroad and from evaluations here in the UK of the previous version of generalist frontloaded training (Project 2000; Robinson and Griffith 2007) show clearly that mental health nursing as a specialism suffered from a minimal focus on mental health in curricula and a depletion of mental health skills across the workforce. The strengthening of the mental health ‘field specific’ elements within the 2010 NMC standards reflected positive differences in areas such as language, the co–production of care and inter–professional practice. Any move to generic, or general (adult?) nurse ‘training’ as a start point for all will inevitably lead to a different set of values underpinning mental health nursing practice over time.

The expectation that the training of mental health nursing skills will be picked up and delivered in the workplace is without foundation despite the numerous examples to do this. The result will be that in an era of claims of parity of esteem people who use services will effectively be deprived of specialist trained nurses. Moreover, there is no evidence that current models of training are not fit for purpose or that a focus on generalist nursing skills will adequately address the needs of people with complex and enduring mental health difficulties.

The longer term effect of this approach is clear to see from countries who have moved down this road ahead of us, depleted services provided by unskilled workers, extra costs for employers in re-training and educating a workforce not fit for practice, difficulty in securing sufficient qualified staff to provide evidence based mental health care and longer term the stripping away of a set of skills in higher education that are unlikely to be replaced.

We don’t know what advice Lord Willis has taken to come to his view. Our worry though is that already the language being used here is designed to undermine professional skills that have been long in the making. For example, the unhelpful rhetoric embodied in the use of the term “silo” downplays specialist skills for the purposes of promoting something far less specific like “flexibility”. It is a largely hollow rhetoric and is never heard in relation to cardiologists, neurosurgeons or diabetes nurses. It seems that the pressure for change then is not one premised on the needs of people using healthcare services nor one based on the evidence of what works but driven by other factors that choose to position specialist nursing skills (and by corollary those who need these skills) as having little value.

We also note that any modification to the NMC’s standards for pre-registration nursing education and to the four fields driven by the Shape of Caring review will be felt across all parts of the UK. As an HEE-sponsored Review we are concerned that voices from parts of the UK other than England will not have opportunities to be heard.

We readily acknowledge that the full report is not yet due but wish to advance the notion of such a review democratically reflecting the voices of nurses and the people who use their services. In this regard we have been disappointed at the absence of any real attempt by the review to engage with our group specifically and have questions about the level of engagement with mental health service users more generally.

Yours Sincerely

Dr Michael Coffey
Chair of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK
Swansea University

Professor Joy Duxbury
Chair-elect of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK
University of Central Lancashire

Professor Len Bowers
Institute of Psychiatry
Kings College London

Professor Patrick Callaghan
Nottingham University

Professor Alan Simpson
City University London

Professor John Playle
University of Huddersfield

Professor Steven Pryjmachuk
University of Manchester

Professor Hugh McKenna
University of Ulster

Professor Doug Macinnes
University of Canterbury

Professor Karina Lovell
University of Manchester

Professor Geoff Dickens
Abertay University

Dr Ben Hannigan
Cardiff University

Dr Liz Hughes
University of York

Dr John Baker
University of Manchester

Dr Mick McKeown and Dr Karen Wright
University of Central Lancashire

Dr Robin Ion and Emma Lamont
Abertay University

Dr Sue McAndrew
University of Salford

Dr Andy Mercer
Bournemouth University

Dr Naomi Sharples
University of Chester

Dr Majorie Lloydd
Bangor University

Turning back the clock?

Ben Hannigan draws attention to and nicely sums up the RCN’s recent report on mental health services in his blog. There are clearly big pressures on mental health services and challenges on the horizon in terms of evidence for developing services and of course nurse education. Parity of esteem may be an ideal but it is ringing as a hollow rhetoric for many and could even be used as a trojan horse to deliver generic (that is adult only) nursing. It is important that mental health nurses are aware of the direction of travel here and ensure that they have a say in debates on the future provision of mental health care.

Ben Hannigan's blog

Here’s a post to draw attention to the RCN‘s newly published Report on Mental Health Services in the UK. This looks to be the latest document from Frontline First, a campaign revealing the effects of funding cuts on NHS care and nursing.

Working with the charity Rethink Mental Illness, and drawing on publicly available data, the RCN shows how (since 2010) the number of staffed mental health hospital beds across all four countries of the UK has reduced. The number of nurses working in NHS mental health services has also fallen, those remaining being revealed as an ageing group. Year on year, an increasing proportion is shown to be over the age of 50.

Here’s a chart showing reductions in the mental health nursing workforce, which I’ve extracted from page 16 of the report:

And, right at the front of the document, I see a clear…

View original post 284 more words

Electing a new vice-chair for MHNAUK

Mental Health Nurse Academics UK has two elected positions of Chair and vice-chair. Our terms of reference allow for nominations from members and elections for these positions if there are more nominated individuals than there are places to fill. This has been the case each time the opportunity to stand for the positions comes up. I think this is a healthy sign of a highly engaged group prepared to commit themselves to participating in debates on education and research in the field of mental health nursing.
Our arrangements are that once elected for the position of vice-chair an individual will serve two years in that position and then a further two years when they replace the existing chair. As the current Chair of the group my time in office is coming to a close and we are currently seeking nominations from group members for the position of vice-chair as my vice-chair Professor Joy Duxbury will take on the role of group chair from 2015. Viewing the four years from this side of the term of office the time seems to have flown. I will post again on my time in office and provide a personal evaluation of the period, but that is for later. Now we are expecting the usual flow of high quality candidates who will put themselves forward for election by their peers and who will one day lead our group. There are many excellent and highly capable mental health nurse academics on our group and I look forward to supporting whoever is elected in their role over the coming years. Nominations close this coming Friday 21st November after which our returning officer Dr Ben Hannigan will provide further details of how the election will be managed. The process will mean that we will have the result before the Christmas break. Good luck to all participating in the process.

Michael Coffey
Chair of MHNAUK

MHNAUK meeting Manchester Autumn 2014

Mental Health Nurse Academics UK meets in the coming week at Manchester University for its Autumn meeting. The agenda for the meeting is posted below. Our meeting is themed around concepts of public involvement and engagement in mental health nurse education and research. We kick off the day with presentations, questions and discussions on the theme presented by colleagues from MHNAUK at Manchester and Cardiff alongside service user and carer researchers.
Much of our meeting will be made up business that reflects the necessary housework of a group such as ours. We agreed previously to theme our meetings and we shall revisit this decision to make plans for the coming year. Our terms of reference which are available here will be discussed and updated as needed. This is also the time in our cycle of meetings when we prepare for the nomination and election of a new vice-chair for the coming period. Once again our colleague Ben Hannigan has offered to manage this process for us and he will lay out the procedure at our coming meeting for members. There is plenty going on outside the group too and we will discuss the most recent Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research conference and plans for the coming year, the Skellern lecture and have a policy update on commissioning frameworks.

9.15 – 9.45 Arrival and Refreshments

9.45 – 10.00 Welcome to the University of Manchester
Prof Karina Lovell, Director of Research
Prof Steven Pryjmachuk, Director of Undergraduate Education

10.00 – 10.15 Welcome from the Chair and Introductions
Michael Coffey, Chair of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK

Morning presentations: Public Involvement and Engagement in MH research and education

10.10 – 10.30 “Becoming involved in research, our journey”
Lauren Walker and Lindsey Cree, Service User and Carer Researchers, the EQUIP (Enhancing the quality of user-involved care planning in mental health services) project

10.35 – 10.55 “Two examples of involving young people in NIHR-funded research projects”
Steven Pryjmachuk, Professor, University of Manchester and Ben Hannigan, Reader, Cardiff University

11.00-11.15 Comfort Break

11.15-11.35 “Developing a faculty-wide infra-structure to improve Public Involvement and Engagement”
John Baker, Senior Lecturer and Faculty Lead for Public Involvement and Engagement, University of Manchester

11:40 – 12:00 Discussions on presentations/theme

12:00 – 12:30 Lunch and networking

MHNAUK Business
12:30 – Themes for meetings
Michael Coffey

13.00 – Revisiting MHNAUK terms of reference
Michael Coffey

13.30 – Election arrangements for new vice-chair
Ben Hannigan

13.45 Service User researchers
Joy Duxbury

14.00 -14.15 NPNR News
Michael Coffey

14:15 Policy update on alternative commissioning frameworks, Benchmark prices
John Playle

14.45 AOB
Skellern Lecture
LD group link
Physical Health care position paper

15.00 Close of Meeting

Next Meeting University of York, 10th March 2015

Michael Coffey
Chair of MHNAUK

Meeting Agenda 12th June 2014

Meeting agenda for the forthcoming Mental Health Nurse Academics UK get together

MHNAUK meet at South Bank University next week with a full agenda as ever. It’s likely to be a busy meeting with over 30 colleagues from all around the UK already registered to attend. Our meetings consist of presentations in the morning followed by business in the afternoons and for this meeting our colleagues at South Bank have invited speakers to present around the intriguing theme of ‘Reciprocity’. 

Our afternoon business sees us welcome colleagues from the nurse consultants group to discuss ideas for collaboration and shared interests and perhaps even to formalise the link between our groups. We plan to catch up on the proposed review of nurse education in England and consider some new developments as our group aims to further its aims of influencing mental health nurse education, research and practice.

9.15 – 9.45       Arrival and Refreshments

 9.45 – 10.00      Welcome to London South Bank University

                          VC Prof Dave Phoenix

 10.00 – 10.15    Welcome from the Chair and Introductions                        

                          Michael Coffey

Morning presentations: Reciprocity. What lessons are there for a contemporary agenda?

10.20 – 10.50    Colin Gale, Archivist. Bethlem Museum of the Mind

‘As if to, drive me mad: an Edwardians experience of sedatives and the asylum’

10.50 – 11.20     Tony Leiba, Emeritus Professor LSBU

‘Lessons of social inclusion through policy’

11.20-11.30        Comfort Break

11.30-12.00        Tommy Dickinson, Lecturer, Manchester University

“Curing Queers”: Giving a voice to former patients who received treatments for their “sexual deviations”, 1935-1974

12:00 -12:30        Discussions on presentations

(including themes for future meetings)

12.30 – 13.00          LUNCH and NETWORKING

Main Business

13.00 – 13.45          Nurse Consultants Group

                                Natalie Hammond and Cath Gamble

13:45-14:00             Review of nurse education in England – Andy Mercer

and for interest see the planned Lancet Commission on Nursing

14.00 -14.15     NPNR News
                         Michael Coffey

14.15 – 14.30   A MHNAUK sponsored invited lecture?

                         Michael Coffey

14.30 – 14.45  – Physical health position paper developments

                          Patricia Ryan-Allen 

14.45  – AOB

Journal Discussion – Ben Hannigan

Links with LD group

15.00  – Close of Meeting

Mental Health Nurse Doctoral Students’ Network

paperchain people

 Mental Health Nurse

Doctoral Students’ Network

 Hope your Doctoral studies and plans are progressing well.

Reminder re two important events in the calendar this year:

The Eileen Skellern Lecture – Weds 11th June at 6pm Institute of Psychiatry, Camberwell, London –

Did anyone want to meet up for a coffee beforehand?

 The 20th NPNR conference – Thurs 18th & Fri 19th September at University of Warwick –

There will be a Mental Health Nurse Doctoral Researchers’ Fringe event at NPNR this year again. A while ago I asked for suggestions about what you wanted, or your preferred format. This was a suggestion I received:

As we may be at different stages, one option could be to look at who is at what stage and then have those at an early stage discussing their experiences so far, those around year 3-4 discussing the pitfalls or learning curves from year 1 and 2. And then have discussion about those further on/towards the end . A small question and answer section at the end too.

Any further comments do put them forward. It would be good to meet up again.


Bw, Julia Terry