Health and health services are political. I therefore applaud those who selected the ‘personal and the political’ as the theme for this year’s Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research conference.
A word on the keynotes:
Kate Pickett‘s Thursday morning opener pressed home how disastrous inequalities are, for all of us. For those not there to hear Kate speak there’s plenty of compelling evidence available via The Equality Trust website, and indeed in The Spirit Level (which I now realise I must read).
Simon Duffy, in his keynote yesterday, challenged mental health nurses to act collectively and assertively to improve welfare. I believe he was correct in pointing out that public services are often experienced as fragmented, bureaucratic and impersonal. Check out the Centre for Welfare Reform website for more in this area.
Charles Walker, Conservative MP for Broxbourne, has spoken openly about his personal experiences of obsessive compulsive disorder and until recently was Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Mental Health. His Thursday afternoon conversation with the NPNR audience was stylishly done, and whilst I can’t bring myself to vote for his party (not now, not ever) I do appreciate what he has done to challenge discrimination.
Len Bowers used his Thursday keynote to share, for the first time anywhere, results from his Safewards trial. Len is a genuinely world leading researcher, and Safewards is a big and important study with seriously major implications for policy, services, education and practice. Take note, inpatient mental health nurses: the findings from this one are coming your way.
Rounding off the whole event yesterday afternoon was Fiona Nolan, sharing results from her pilot study of the use of protected engagement time (PET) by inpatient mental health nurses. Fiona’s was another great presentation, and her and her colleagues’ findings are important because (despite the push from policymakers) they suggest PET offers no additional benefits to service users.
Other items of news: warm congratulations to Joy Duxbury, who will be delivering the Eileen Skellern Lecture for 2014, and to Hugh McKenna, who will be receiving the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing Lifetime Achievement Award. Two fine people, and worthy winners both.
The concurrent sessions I had the chance to participate in were of uniformly high-quality, and there was plenty of discussion and debate to be had. I’d also like to think that this year’s event maintained the NPNR’s reputation for combining quality with informality and collegiality. For the record, my view is that nothing of great consequence was lost in moving the conference, for the first time ever, away from Oxford. Warwick worked well, and as others have said via their post-event tweets, it’s the people not the place which matter.
See you next year.