Committed campaigner to give Coventry keynote

Liberal Democrat MP, Norman Lamb, Minister of State for Care and Support at the Department of Health from September 2012 to May 2015, and a committed campaigner on mental health, will be among the keynote speakers at May’s Design in Mental Health 2019 conference in Coventry. As The Network’s editor, Jonathan Baillie, reports, other topics in a wide-ranging programme will range from joint development work with the Building Research Establishment of tests to ensure that products for mental healthcare settings are fit for purpose, to estates modernisation, seclusion space use and design, and care environments for children.

This year’s Design in Mental Health (DiMH) conference, exhibition, and awards dinner – the latter takes place on the evening of the show’s first day – is being held from 21-22 May in the Ericsson Exhibition Hall at a new venue, Coventry’s Ricoh Arena, after a switch from the show’s former location, the National Conference Centre in Solihull, to accommodate the event’s significant growth. While those facing mental ill health have often carried the additional burden of social stigma, the past 4-5 years’ intense focus on mental illness, and revelations that many high profile figures have suffered, have seen a shift in perceptions and a more open, informed dialogue. One high profile figure who has done much to raise mental illness’s profile in an attempt to improve both understanding and treatment is Norman Lamb, the MP for Norfolk North, who will give a keynote speech on the conference’s second day. Having previously served – following his election to Parliament – in senior political roles at the Department for Trade and Industry and The Treasury, he became Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary in 2006. Following the 2010 General Election, he served first as Chief Parliamentary Advisor to Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and then as junior Minister at the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, before his promotion to Minister of State for Care and Support.

A pioneering reformer In the role, he worked to introduce key reforms to the care system, including a cap on care costs, and ensuring that carers receive the support they need. He was also instrumental in the drive to ‘join up the health and care system’, and in challenging the NHS to ensure that mental health is afforded the same priority as physical health, introducing the first ever access and waiting time standards in mental healthcare for the treatment of common mental health problems. He served as the Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary


seclusion? Examining seclusion use and design in contemporary care’, and ‘Children are the future’. Speakers in the ‘Safe in seclusion?’ session will include Dave Riley, Improvement lead for Perfect Care at Mersey Care, a mental health nurse who has spent the last five years working with clinical teams to reduce the use of physical interventions when service-users become distressed on inpatient units. The programme, ‘No Force First’, has won several awards, being recognised as a key driver for change. Dave Riley believes that ‘co-production’ – in which people who use and deliver services work together to deliver change – is ‘the key to rebalancing power within therapeutic relationships, and changing adversarial cultures which have historically impacted on recovery within clinical environments’.

Liberal Democrat MP, Norman Lamb, a former Minister of State for Care and Support, will be among the keynote speakers at May’s Design in Mental Health 2019 conference.

from 2015 to 2017, and continues to campaign for ‘equality’ for those suffering with mental ill health.

The 2019 DiMH conference will begin on 21 May with a welcome from the Network’s chair, Jenny Gill, following which Philip Ross, a DiMHN Board member, and Workstream lead for Testing & Innovation, will give a keynote, ‘Design with confidence – comprehensive test methods for products in mental health

environments’ – updating delegates on the DiMHN’s ongoing work with the BRE (Building Research Establishment) to develop tests to ensure the fitness-for- purpose of a range of products for mental healthcare settings. The day’s second keynote will be given by Simon Corben, director and head of Profession, NHS Estates and Facilities, at NHS

Improvement. Two concurrent conference streams will then focus on ‘Safe in

Collaboration with NAPICU Other speakers in this session will include Dr Hamid Alhaj, director of Postgraduate Education at Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, and director of Research for NAPICU, with whom the DiMHN is working on a project on seclusion. Dr Alhaj will co-present on the initiative with Paula Reavey, Professor of Psychology at London South Bank University, research lead and consultant on projects at the Maudsley and Royal Bethlem Hospitals, and honorary research consultant at St. Andrew’s Healthcare, who leads the DiMHN’s Education and Research Workstream. In the same session, Alex Senciuc, an architect at Medical Architecture, will focus on ‘how a methodical approach to evaluation can facilitate the design and decision-making process and drive improvement of an NHS Trust’s seclusion facilities’, drawing on a Trust’s experience of providing a new standardised design, and applying this to its intensive medium secure care: seclusion (short-term stay), long-term segregation (long-term stay), section 136, and de- escalation.


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