It’s during times like the current COVID-19 pandemic that a healthcare team will really come together and keep each other motivated whilst working flexibly to meet patients’ needs.

Like many other teams across Spectrum, our Recovery Team at HMP Full Sutton has pulled out all the stops to not only support patients but offer a helping hand to staff and teams. Adapting their ways of working, they are answering the phones to assist with triage, helping out with patients referrals and applications.  They have also become HMP Full Suttons social distancing guardians reminding colleagues and patients of the 2m rule.

The Team is using ‘TEAMS’ (Microsoft) to carry out daily handovers with the Multi-Disciplinary Forum and to keep Psychiatric Review Clinics running, ensuring that patients are kept safe.

They have committed themselves to keeping service users updated with the latest information and advice, liaising with prison partners (eg. gym, chaplaincy, offender management). Keeping that channel of communication open is vital to prisoners during these times. The dedication and commitment really highlights why we should all celebrate nursing, with patients also thankful of the great work they have carried out.

Here’s a brief insight to our team #HiddenHeroes:

Kevin is the team leader who holds the team together. He has overall responsibility of keeping his team going, keeping morale high, checking in with them daily. He always makes sure patients and colleagues are being looked after and makes himself available at all times.

“Kevin is always eager to help and cares about our general wellbeing. He’s the glue that holds the team together. But we’d also like him to be looked after as well – he tends to choose to wait for his days off to recharge his batteries. Take care of yourself as well Kevin!” – Team Member

Liz has been working from home but is still very much involved with the on-site team; a fantastic example of joined-up working. She shows up every day and is working on a number of projects as well as being involved with all the day-to-day work/decision-making. Her attention to detail is one of the key things that helps the team – she’s been calling in and talking things through so her colleagues get a thorough understanding of the patients that they are treating on her behalf.

This approach has been really helpful with patients, who will take time to build up trust when working with nurses whom them may not be as familiar with. Thanks to Liz’s guidance, a number of patients are now responding well to the nurses on-site at the prison.

“You are a great nurse! You are good at what you do, your people skills are awesome and I’ve said before you’re the best worker I’ve had inside and outside, so Thank you!” – Service User

Sharon drops everything to help anyone else out and ensures that the day-to-day activities are running smoothly. She is an active liaison between the various teams and will always take time out for patients and listen to them. Being a straight-talker and very down-to-earth in her approach, has helped Sharon gained the trust of one particular patient who needed support. She’s been then able to use distraction techniques to helping him to stay focused.

“Mental Health Nurse ‘Sharon’ has really helped me. She sorted out my medication, she done the Beacon Unit application and got me in front of the psychiatrist very quick. So this is to say thank you Sharon, I really appreciate you!” – Service User

Sue has been providing useful support out of hours and at weekends as well as during the core day. She is the essential link between night and day/weekday to weekend, ensuring a good handover between teams, without which it would be hard for the service to function.

“I am doing a lot better now and it was all down to her!” – Service User

John has been busy working with parole and rehab, as well as his usual recovery-based duties. He’s been particularly successful with one of his service users who had been left in limbo during the pandemic. With John’s help, the service user is now free from drug addiction.

“John, I really mean this, the amount of help you have given to me to stay clean has gone above and beyond, I wouldn’t have done this without you. You have helped me get Parole and I can get on with my life earlier than I thought was possible. I will never forget this, thank you so much!” – Service User

Because Anita has an excellent rapport with service users, she is always getting applications from them and coordinating walking groups (despite working in substance misuse rather than mental health). She is well known and respected around the prison. One of Anita’s focuses over the recent weeks has been to improve and streamline the current systems.

“Anita relentlessly gives a 100% commitment each and every day! She has a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone.” – Team Member

“Anita I would like to thank you for all the work that you have done with me over the years. It makes a massive difference that you have a good balance of professionalism and care and that you are always willing to go that extra bit further when I’ve needed help and support. I will never forget that.” – Service User

Jack (who is relatively new to the team), is currently working from home providing additional support.

“He’s the one who doesn’t take things too seriously and provides that balance in our working day, helping the rigours of work to fall off our shoulders.” – Team Member

Thanks Jack! I told the Inspectors that you did a lot for me and that you are the only one who listened!” – Service User