Gemma Bow

Team Manager, Primary Mental Health Services, Milton Keynes Mental Health Services

Since qualifying as a mental health nurse in 2008 I have been fortunate enough to work in a wide variety of clinical settings, in the areas of substance misuse, forensics and crisis assessment. In June 2017 I was offered the role of Team Manager, with my main responsibility being to set up and manage the Primary Care Plus mental health service., which was at that time a small pilot. The service was commissioned to work with patients experiencing mild to moderate mental health difficulties, within their own GP surgeries. As part of this role we offer support, expertise and training to the GP surgery staff. Despite having not had any previous management experience, I was offered the opportunity to build the service from scratch, which included the creation of all processes, pathways and policies, project planning, recruitment of staff, achieving and monitoring of data targets and KPIs, budgetary management and ongoing service development.

As with many NHS Trusts, we are currently going through a significant period of change. Prior to the challenges brought by COVID-19, we were entering the process of transforming mental health services in Milton Keynes; which included a restructure of the “front door” and secondary mental health services and the development of 24 hour crisis services. This transformation, in addition to us being a newly established service, provides an excellent basis for the continued development and improvement of our existing processes. Furthermore, the challenges associated with COVID-19, particularly an increase in the general public suffering with anxiety and depression means that we need to consider how we can work most effectively.

Whilst I’m sure I’d be considered biased, I truly believe I work with the most amazing team individuals (both clinicians and administrative staff), who all have exactly the same goal – to deliver first class care to our patients, work with them collaboratively and advocate for them in any way we can. I hope that by becoming an Inspire Improvement Fellow I can continue to support my team to do this, enabling them to explore ways to develop the care that they provide and hone our service.

I am particularly excited to get to know the rest of the Fellows and fully intend to embrace this experience, as well as their skills and knowledge, over the coming months.