Category Archives: News

Join us as an Apprentice IT Technical Support Technician

Our IT Projects Team have a new exciting opportunity for two apprentices to join the team. The successful post holders will obtain recognised IT certification with Microsoft, Cisco and other vendors.

We are looking for individuals with excellent communication and IT skills to bring something to the Trust and be part of the current and future success. Valuable experience will be gained in the latest network, cloud, virtual and systems technologies. The post-holder will help provide IT Technical support for users throughout Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

You will need to demonstrate knowledge / experience of supporting IT systems and users in Windows 7/10 environment, familiarity of supporting desktops and laptops, Windows operation systems, networking fundamentals, using remote support tools and other requirements as per the person specification.

This role will include workplace mentoring and block release classroom study via the Apprenticeships Scheme, leading to an industry recognised Level 3 apprenticeship qualification upon completion (A Level Equivalent).

Find out more and apply here.


Trust recognises dedication of mental health and social care staff at awards ceremony

The hard work and dedication of mental health and social care staff and volunteers from across ²gether NHS Foundation Trust has been recognised at an annual awards ceremony.

The Trust’s Recognising Outstanding Service and Contribution Awards (ROSCAs) took place at Hatherley Manor Hotel, near Gloucester, on Friday evening (20 July).

Around 125 staff, volunteers, service users and carers from across Gloucestershire and Herefordshire attended and awards were presented in 10 categories.

In addition, long service awards were presented to staff who have given either 20, 30 or 40 years’ dedication to the NHS, totalling an impressive 2580 years between them.

Ingrid Barker, Chair of ²gether NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The ROSCAs celebrate the amazing dedication, commitment and compassion of our colleagues working across the Trust. It has been inspiring to hear about the work of those who were nominated, and how they provide such a high quality and caring service to those in need.

I would like to say a huge thank you and congratulations to all of the nominees and winners for what they do on a daily basis.

Paul Roberts, Chief Executive, ²gether, said: “This is the eleventh year of the ROSCAs but my first as Joint Chief Executive. It was an honour to attend the event, celebrate success and recognise those who go the extra mile every day.

“The awards highlighted shining examples of teamwork, innovation, leadership and putting service users and carers at the heart of everything.

“Everyone nominated for a ROSCA represents the strong values which the Trust is built on, and I thank them for their hard work and commitment.”

More than 200 nominations were received for this year’s awards from staff, service users and carers.

The ROSCAs judging panel consisted of service users, trust governors, trade unions and sponsors.

The 2017 ROSCAs were sponsored by Alpha Colour Printers, West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEAHSN), Midcounties Co-operative, Unison, Gloucestershire Young Carers and PR Productions.

The list of winners is as follows:

Unsung Hero

Bill Wright and Stephanie Campbell – Santa and his Elf

Valuing Diversity

The Criminal Justice Liaison Team

Carer and Service User Involvement

Andrew Telford, Community Services Manager

Service Users and Carers Choice

Colleen Brady, Community Learning Disability Nurse

Award for Innovation

The Rapid Access Physiotherapy Team

Clinical Team of the Year     

Charlton Lane Hospital Team

Non-Clinical Team of the Year

The E-Rostering Team

Best Supporting Colleague

Conway Jones, Senior Mental Health Practitioner

Best Supporting Manager

Colin Wright, Deputy Manager, Berkeley House

The CEO’s Award for Outstanding Contribution

Jim Stone

Meet our Mental Health Liaison Team

People with mental health issues visiting hospitals in Gloucestershire are getting a swift and compassionate response from an award-winning team.

The Mental Health Liaison Team is poised to deal with all kinds of situations in both adults and young people aged 16+, 24 hours a day across the county’s Accident and Emergency units and wards.

The 22 staff are part of ²gether NHS Foundation Trust but are based at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH). The team also covers Cheltenham General Hospital (CGH) and the eight community hospitals in Gloucestershire, dealing with between 200 to 300 patients each month who are experiencing mental health problems across the sites.  The service comprises four teams in total, these include working age, older age and alcohol, and staff work across patient groups.  This involves partnership working with other agencies so that high quality patient care is delivered to the right person at the right time.

People need help due to a range of issues, including alcohol dependency, self-harm and severe mental health problems.  The team helps existing ²gether service users during their inpatient stay, helping to manage their anxieties and support communication with the ward teams.

Jim Welch, Mental Health Liaison Manager, ²gether, said they see a wide range of patients from all communities and backgrounds.

He said: “We see anyone and everyone. It could be me or you. We’re all one day away from being ill.

“We forget that 40% of the workforce may have a mental illness. This means 40% of people in this hospital and the staff caring for them will have some degree of mental health need.

“People in their middle years may have been successfully contained within jobs and marriages.  Take that away and mental health issues can develop.”

The role of the team is to provide a full psycho-social assessment of anyone referred.  Clinicians look at why the person has come for help, and the events that brought them. A full background history review will take place for those who are unknown to mental health services.

Carrying pagers and working locally within acute settings means staff can literally pop next door to respond to an emergency. The team maintains a high profile and actively engages staff by providing tailored training to make sure that the mental health needs of patients are equal to their physical needs.  Staff have won a number of awards including a ²gether Recognising Outstanding Service and Contribution Award (ROSCA) for clinical team of the year in 2017.

Previously, young people were facing long waits for mental health support in A&E because the Children and Young People’s Service isn’t available 24/7. Now if a young person aged 16+ needs help late at night they don’t need to wait until the next day as the team can help them there and then. There are plans to lower the threshold to 11+ in the future.  The team also seeks to involve families and carers in developing packages of care that take the needs of the whole family into consideration.

Jim added: “The team is adapting to meet the needs of our community. We have evolved service delivery to meet the needs of the client group so support is available at the earliest opportunity.”

The team members all have a registered mental health qualification and are psychiatrists, nurses or from a social work background.

Jim added: “One of the key messages for us is that it’s ok to talk about it, if you talk about it, you’re not alone.”

Joint Chief Executive of 2gether NHS Foundation Trust and Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust announced

2gether NHS Foundation Trust and Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust are delighted to announce the appointment of a Joint Chief Executive for both organisations.

Paul Roberts has been selected in the role of Joint Chief Executive following a thorough national selection process, which included discussions with service users, partners and representatives from both Trusts, in addition to a formal interview.

He will take up his position on Monday 16 April and lead the work to formally unite the two Trusts, in line with plans announced last September.

Paul said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to this exciting new role. Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust and 2gether NHS Foundation Trust are both already very strong, high quality organisations.

“I look forward to building on these strengths over the coming months and years as the two organisations work even more closely together.

“I have no doubt that this closer integration will benefit service users, carers and the local community more generally and I am looking forward to playing my part in leading this development.”

Paul has been a Chief Executive for over twenty years and spent more than five years in Wales leading a large Health Board responsible for community, mental health and learning disability services as well as for four acute hospitals. Prior to that he spent fourteen years in Plymouth as Chief Executive of the community and mental health services, and then the acute teaching hospital NHS Trust.

An Oxford University graduate, he has also held a variety of national roles across the NHS, including being a trustee of the NHS Confederation, vice-chair of the Association of UK University Hospitals and a member of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel.

Ingrid Barker, who took up her position as chair of both Trusts on January 1, said: “Everyone understands that this is a critical appointment, and there was complete agreement that Paul stood out from an extremely strong field of candidates.

“His leadership, experience, compassion and dedication to our Trusts’ strategic vision will be invaluable as we lay down a blueprint for mental health, learning disability and physical health services which offer better co-ordinated, and more effective, care.”

Arrangements are being planned with Katie Norton, CEO at Gloucestershire Care Services, and Colin Merker, acting CEO at 2gether to ensure a seamless transition over the next five weeks.

Commitment to Carers Recognised with Second Gold Star

Our commitment to working in partnership with carers has been recognised with a second gold star under a national scheme.

The Triangle of Care scheme is run by the Carers Trust, and brings carers, service users and professionals closer together to jointly promote the recovery of people with mental health conditions.

We were accepted as a member of the scheme in April 2015, gained our first gold star in 2016, and have now been awarded our second gold star. This is the highest level that a Trust such as ²gether, which currently has no community health services, can attain.

Professor Jane Melton, Director of Engagement and Integration for the Trust, said: “The Triangle of Care programme has given us a great opportunity to embed the principles of working with family members and other carers across our teams in both Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

“We are delighted that this work has been recognised with a second gold star – the highest rating a Trust like ours can achieve. However, membership of the scheme is about much more than accreditation.

“We hope that it demonstrates to people who use our services, families and communities, that we hold carers, and the role that they play, in the highest regard and are committed to ensuring their involvment. Carers not only need our full support; they are also experts in their own right who should be fully included in the delivery of health and social care whenever possible .

“We’d like to thank our partners – Carers Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire Young Carers and Herefordshire Carers Support – as well as the Carers Trust for their continued support. In addition, we express our sincere appreciation to the carers and staff members who have enabled this work to progress”

To gain the second star, community teams in both counties had to complete a number of actions, as well as appointing carer champions within their teams and nominating young carer champions.

Joanna Denney, Consultant Occupational Therapist for Social Inclusion,  ²gether NHS Foundation Trust, has led the work to gain the second gold star. She said: “Carers of all ages play an essential role in supporting the recovery and wellbeing of so many service users.

“They can offer emotional support, speak up for loved ones, get involved in care planning, remind someone to take their medication, and help them with day-to-day activities. This makes a big difference to people who use our service users, and improves their chances of living the life they want to live.

“As this formal programme comes to an end, we will remain strongly committed to the principles of Triangle of Care and make sure they are followed routinely throughout the Trust.”

Whose Shoes?

If you have become a parent in the past five years and have experienced mental health difficulties during this time, why not come along to a ‘Whose Shoes?’ event and share your views?

We’d love to hear your experiences of any help received with mental health issues either during or after pregnancy; good, bad or indifferent.

Date: Thurs 24 May 2018
Arrive from: 09:30am for coffee
Event from: 10:00 until 2:15 pm
Venue: Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester, GL1 3AX

Lunch is provided, partners/fathers welcome and of course babies are more than welcome to attend!

Spaces are limited so please let us know that you are interested by contacting us on 01452 894092.

2gether Signs the NHS Smokefree Pledge

We’ve shown our commitment to a smokefree future across communities in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire by signing the NHS Smokefree Pledge.

²gether has been a Smokefree Trust since April 2017.  This means we don’t allow smoking in any of our premises (including our gardens, car parks and grounds) because we recognise that smoking is the single greatest cause of premature death and disease in our communities.

Marie Crofts, Director of Quality said: “Smoking is the primary reason for the 10 to 20 year shortened life expectancy for people with a mental health problem in the UK.

“We really want to work with our service users, carers and staff to reduce health inequalities, which includes helping to reduce smoking. We have a duty of care knowing what the evidence now is in relation to life expectancy. We want to help support people to live longer, healthier lives.

“It’s also a myth that smoking calms people down and aids relaxation. It actually increases anxiety and tension so can make mental health conditions worse as well as increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, cancer and a range of other conditions.

“Smoking also puts a huge burden on health and social care services and has a massive impact on the future sustainability of the NHS, so we want to be part of the solution.”

By signing the pledge and joining the Smokefree Action Coalition, ²gether has shown its support for the Government’s commitment to reduce smoking rates to less than 5 per cent.

There are many ways to get support if you want to quit smoking or help somebody else to do so.

These include:

  • If you are one of our service users, ask to speak to a Smokefree Champion or Quit Advisor.
  • If you live in Gloucestershire, visit or ring 0800 122 3788.
  • If you live in Herefordshire, visit or ring 01432 383567.
  • GPs can provide advice and prescriptions for nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products and most surgeries have nurses who offer a stop smoking service.
  • Visit One You
  • The national Smokefree website includes a wide range of support options and advice.
  • You can also call the national Smokefree helpline on 0800 022 4332 (Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am to 5pm).

Deadline for ROSCA Nominations Extended

²gether staff who want to nominate their health hero for a special award have extra time to do so.

The deadline for nominations for the Recognising Outstanding Service and Contribution Awards (ROSCAs) has been extended to Tuesday March 20th 2018.

This year, the award scheme is a double celebration as it coincides with the 70th anniversary of the birth of the NHS.

The ROSCAs reward exceptional staff, teams and volunteers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make an outstanding contribution and commitment to our organisation.

The annual awards ceremony will be a momentous occasion where great colleagues are celebrated.  The best supporting colleague category also features in a monthly award.

If you would like to nominate a member of staff or a team, you can make your nomination here.

Nominations can be put forward for the following categories:

  • Unsung Hero
  • Award for Innovation
  • Carer and Service User Involvement
  • Clinical Team of the Year
  • Non-Clinical Team of the Year
  • Valuing Diversity
  • Best Supporting Colleague
  • Best Supporting Manager
  • CEO Award for Outstanding Contribution

Please note:

  • You cannot nominate yourself or a family member for a ROSCA
  • You cannot nominate the team in which you work for a ROSCA. However, Team Managers can now nominate their teams as long as they are not included in the nomination
  • If you have any doubt about who is part of the team and who can nominate a team please call Nick Grubb on 01452 894 658. More details here

Everyone who is nominated will receive a commemorative certificate. All nominations will be considered by our judging panel and the 3 shortlisted nominees will be invited to our annual awards ceremony where the winner will be announced.

You can also download a copy of the nomination form and email it to: or send it to ROSCAs, HR, Rikenel, Gloucester GL1 1LY

2gether Trust Working to Improve the Lives of Homeless People

People with poor mental health are at greater risk of experiencing the three main factors which can lead to homelessness: poverty, isolation and vulnerability.

In turn, being homeless can cause a decline in mental health and lead to anxiety, fear, depression, sleeplessness and substance misuse.

This is why ²gether is working in partnership with other organisations to improve the lives of homeless people in Gloucester.  The life expectancy of a street homeless person is just 42 years, compared with 74 for men and 79 for women in the general population. Andy Telford, ²gether’s Community Services Manager for the West Locality & Vocational Services, said: “The effect of being homeless on mental health and wellbeing is a big issue. We have homeless people in the community who are not engaged with our services, and some of them are clearly mentally unwell.  We’re trying to help them have access to what they need to support their mental health and overall wellbeing.”

At the George Whitefield Centre run by Gloucester City Mission, agencies including ²gether, Gloucestershire Care Services (GCS) NHS Trust, Change Grow Live and P3 are working together to provide ‘hub style’ care for rough sleepers.  Dave Kinghorn manages the centre in Great Western Road where homeless people can register and access GP clinics four days per week. Nurses are there five days a week to wash wounds and change bandages and clients can have a shower, a change of clothes, a hot meal and a clean sleeping bag.  A Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) visits weekly, as well as a podiatrist once a fortnight.

Gayle Clay, Team Manager with Gloucestershire Care Service NHS Trust’s Homeless Healthcare Team, has 22 years’ service with the NHS. She said: “We’re seeing a very high level of anxiety here, much higher than in general practice.

“This also impacts on nursing time. There’s a lot of listening ear – 98% of people here have experienced early years abuse. They have feelings of hopelessness and rock bottom self-esteem. Things we take for granted like a family network, they don’t have.”

Joanne, 49, who visits the centre, has a dependent personality disorder and is homeless.

She said: “I find coming here helpful because I need support but I can’t stay here forever, I need supported lodgings.  I was working at the job centre for 31 years but I had a breakdown.”

Rob Phillips, Joanne’s CPN, said: “Joanne had a husband, two kids, a job, money, a house and a car. She was offered redundancy and she took it but she lost her routine. She was a functional person then her dad died of cancer. Her marriage broke down. She didn’t have a mental health problem until the age of 46.

“Homelessness impacts on someone’s mental health and their physical health is affected, which then impacts on their mental health”, added Rob.

“Having no base and nowhere to go during the day is not going to be good for anyone’s mental health”.

Some of the other support provided at the centre involves building skills including:

  • Cookery and healthy eating courses
  • Help with maintaining accommodation
  • Access to drug and alcohol workers
  • Assessments
  • A recovery group
  • Narcotics Anonymous runs once a week on a Saturday

Andy added: “If someone has a complex need they may not engage.  It’s about creating opportunities and signposting people to services which meet those needs.  We can’t eradicate homelessness but we can make the engagement process much slicker.”

Losing the Need for Hospital – a blog by Ed

It’s more than three years since I was last in Wotton Lawn, but still when my mood dips I want to be back in hospital.

I spent almost 16 months on the recovery ward at Laurel House in Cheltenham, between November 2014 and February 2016, and when I left I was ready to live on my own. Living on my own had worked before. I’d tried living in shared housing, which really didn’t work.

I’ve been on my own for nearly two years now, and most of the time I am happy to be my own boss. But when I do get low – and the lows have been quite gentle recently – I want to be surrounded by fellow sufferers.

In the past I’ve helped other patients when still a patient myself. My role as an expert by experience is very present when dealing with young people new to hospital.

Fifteen years ago I was first sectioned and placed in Wotton Lawn. I didn’t want to be there and, for several years, hospital was the last place I wanted to be. Then it became a safe place for me. I had some bad breakdowns between 2008 and 2011 and it became my sanctuary – the big wide world looked very scary.

In 2015 I made a commitment to myself, that I would be sensible about my illness. There are many risks to living with paranoid schizophrenia, but I would do my best to stay out of hospital. A big step was seeking work, but there were many more small steps to be taken.

Hospital is no longer my happy, safe place; now it’s a big step backwards. Eventually I would like to work in Wotton Lawn, helping people in a similar situation to me. But for now I have to leave the need for help behind.