Professor Steve Trenchard, the new chief executive of Derbyshire Healthcare, hits ground running to help mental patients
Professor Steve Trenchard has taken over the role of chief executive at the county's mental health trust, Derbyshire Healthcare. He spoke to Caroline Jones about his ambitions for the future.
WHEN Steve Trenchard decided to make the move to Derbyshire from London, it was not just our scenic countryside which attracted him.
It was working with an ambitious group of people who want to put the county's mental health trust among the top five in the UK which caught his fancy.
This is because Steve himself – taking up his first position as chief executive – believes he is not without ambition either.
Cheap Van Insurance(Commercial & Private Use) - Contact Insure365...View details
Cheap Van Insurance(Commercial & Private Use) - Contact Insure365 01782 898188. Free Legal Protection Included Valued at £25.00
Terms: 1 Voucher Per Customer
Contact: 01782 898188
Valid until: Friday, June 21 2013
In less than a week since he officially joined Derbyshire Healthcare following the retirement of predecessor Mike Shewan, he is already contemplating opening a research centre for mental health. And he has high hopes for bring a "recovery education college" to Derby – a place where courses are run for, and by, people who have experienced mental health problems.
Steve said: "Recovery is one of the most important parts of our work – because it is our way of saying we believe in people when they are facing some of their darkest moments.
"But it's not a word which is really used in mental health services. For example, you might tell someone it is too soon for them to get back into work – but that is not really letting them recover.
"By giving people hope and opportunity, you are actually putting them back in control of their lives – and that is recovery."
"They have recovery education colleges in Nottingham and London and what is good about them is that the people who go say they are seen as a person first and then a student.
"In healthcare, people tend to feel they are treated as patients first and then as a person second – that difference in status is important to them."
Steve has already starting looking at forging links with universities for the creation of his research and development centre.
He said: "I went to visit one of our trust's in-patient units in north Derbyshire and I was really impressed that all the doors – except, obviously, the front door – were open, not locked. The majority of wards in many units across the country have locked doors but, here, the staff have developed skills which mean they do not need to use physical intervention.
"On top of this, it's pretty clear as I've been meeting staff just how compassionate they are with patients – it's all these kinds of things I think could be explored further at the research centre. Could I give exact timings the development of this? No, but I'm hopeful this is something we can look at over the next few years."
Steve joins Derbyshire Healthcare with more than 20 years of healthcare experience across the NHS and private sector, after originally registering as a mental health nurse.
He has moved from the West London Mental Health NHS Trust, where he was executive director of nursing and patient experience.
Steve said: "There were plenty of things which attracted me to the trust – its history, its location in a gorgeous part of the world.
"But, more importantly, I was really struck by the focus here on putting patients at the heart of everything.
"The board made it pretty clear to me during my interview that patient care and quality meant everything and these are values I like and I want to work with.
"And I was pleased to hear the trust say it wants to be in the top five in the country – all in all, I was quite happy to take the job."
With mental health disorders ranging from stress to Alzheimer's disease – and one in four of us estimated to have some sort of mental health problem during our lifetime – Derbyshire Healthcare sees thousands of patients each year.
Steve said: "I want the people of Derbyshire to know that, if they are unhappy with anything we can do, they can write to me or contact us.
"I want to establish a culture that, if things go wrong, we are prepared to put our hands up."