King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust, with Maudsley Learning, are working to support safer mental health management through a comprehensive training programme. It is designed to improve the skills, knowledge and confidence of acute care staff in mental health care.

NHS England and Improvement describe the disconnect between mental and physical healthcare as “a significant issue for the delivery of high-quality services to patients”. Healthcare professionals often feel unskilled, unsupported and lacking confidence to deal with mental health issues. Yet patients across the UK frequently present to their local acute trusts for assessment and management via emergency pathways in mental health crisis. The solution requires investment in our workforce to bolster their knowledge, abilities and confidence in managing mental health issues better.

King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust and Maudsley Learning have collaborated to develop a comprehensive mental health training programme. The programme will be delivered to acute care staff across the organisation; it includes two simulation courses and two masterclasses.

Course 1: Mental health awareness for acute trusts

This course provides an overview of mental health problems that arise in the general hospital, primarily focussing on in-patient settings. It is targeted at staff working in all areas across the trust.

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Course 2: Mental health crisis in the Emergency Department (PsychED)

This inter-professional simulation-based-education course is aimed at the range of healthcare workers who are involved in the care of patients in the Emergency Department (ED).

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Course 3: Reducing restraint and improving safe practice in acute care

This inter-professional simulation-based-education course is aimed at nurses and security staff who may be called upon to manage incidents of violence and aggression.

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Course 4: KCH Senior Nursing Management Mental Health Course

This course provides a significant step up in how to manage mental health problems that arise in the general hospital and will be targeted at Band 7+ nurses.

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Quality assurance and evaluation

Evaluation is an essential part of course design and delivery as it allows us to understand whether trainee outcomes are sufficiently met. Data also tells us what works and what doesn’t, in order to enhance future course designs.

Evaluation will be conducted pre, post, and longitudinally in order to capture data at three time points. This will allow us to compare participants before and after the course alongside any long term, lasting impacts that the course may provide. Questions will measure changes related to the learning outcomes of the individual courses alongside clinician attitudes to mental health.