A consultant practitioner in mental health writes
Approved social worker duty today, I really enjoy days like these. They are few and far between now but when I do get out I remember why I started in social work in the first place. I spend so much time in my office, in meetings, or writing papers that sometimes I forget there is a world outside of work plans and performance standards.
Out in the real world I’m called to an assessment after assessing the lady and making the decision to admit her she refuses to go. The police are summoned to transport her and I hear the words, “She should be OK with you guys” coming out of my mouth. Talk about speaking too soon – true to form within minutes two police officers are on the pavement with the 5ft nothing woman, and requesting assistance and a riot van. Really I should have just shut up.
It’s a day of death by meetings – governance and Commission for Social Care Inspection are the themes of today. Each meeting consists of sitting with health colleagues and putting the social care perspective on work in progress.
The willingness to listen and engage is encouraging and I find I’m more and more able to define what it is that the social work profession brings to the table. I’m convinced that the benefits of multi-disciplinary work outweigh the negatives – now how do I persuade frontline staff of this?
I’m half way through the week and it seems that my feet are yet to touch the floor today it’s leads meetings and supervision. The merging of partnership trusts has created gaps in social care professional leadership.
My role is to try and pick some of this up, a big job but someone’s got to do it. The morale of social workers seems really low at the moment and I’m spending a lot of time being a sounding board for the anxieties. The cultures of health and social services sometimes seem so far apart – it’s like the whole men are from Mars and women are from Venus debate all over again.
Mental Health Bill self-assessment today: arrghh! The waiting to see what will happen sometime soon is the focus of my day today. There is so much work that needs to be done, and the fog is still there, we are all still keeping our fingers crossed that something will be finalised.
Where do the weeks go? The nature of social work within mental health is a hot topic at the moment, and the social care indicators appear to be a foreign language for our health colleagues. My job title today is interpreter rather than practitioner but I can see the light, I know it’s going to be OK.
The issue of health and social care merging is having some teething problems but then it would be strange if it wasn’t. As partnership trusts we are in the “terrible twos” – I just keep saying to the social care staff that it will pass, just keep holding on, it’ll work out OK. Do you know what? I truly believe it will.