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Student mental health in private purpose-built accommodation

‘Why do you care about student mental health though, aren’t you just in it for the money?’ I’ve heard many variations on this question over the last year, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

It reflects the surprise that many people feel when they hear that I, and others like me in the private student accommodation sector, dedicate significant time and resource to student mental health and wellbeing.

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Quality Improvement in Healthcare with Dr John Boulton

Quality improvement in healthcare

Being invited to talk at the Quality Improvement in Healthcare conference is a real honour and privilege. I am looking forward to attending the event, and listening to the excellent speakers from the field of Quality Improvement, as well as networking with delegates. Whilst it is an honour to be speaking at such an event, it also provides me an opportunity to learn from others and reflect on my own improvement journey.

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We Need to Talk About Self-Harm


As a researcher specialising in self-harm, a common question I get is whether talking about self-harm encourages people to do it, or put more simply, “is talking about self-harm dangerous?” And the answer I give is an emphatic “no!”

Contrary to this widely held misconception, talking carefully and knowledgably about self-harm can not only help to dispel the misunderstandings around these behaviours, but may encourage people who self-harm to share their concerns, feel supported, and even to make the first steps towards seeking help.

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Love food, hate waste

Food Waste

2018 has been another year that has seen increasing attention to the food waste problem. There has been a concerted effort to promote prevention actions to raise awareness of the types of behaviours that are causing food to end up in the bin. The Love Food Hate Waste campaign continues to provide useful advice such as checking the temperature of your fridge, how to plan and make food last longer and go further. The supermarkets have also made pledges by signing up to a new food waste reduction roadmap and a government-funded pilot scheme.  However new research has questioned whether awareness campaigns on their own are sufficient to adequately prevent food waste at the level needed. This suggests the need to rethink and reconsider current approaches.

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Our quality improvement could be much improved

Hello, my name is David McNally. I’m Head of Experience of Care with NHS England. Our Team’s role is to support the NHS to improve people’s experience of care and we believe that should be done as an integral part of any quality improvement or clinical transformation work and should be undertaken through coproduction with patients, users, carers and staff. 

In the course of our work we engage with a lot of NHS provider Trusts and what follows amalgamates some of the things we hear and highlights some of Trust’s common challenges. Does this sound familiar? Do get in touch if you’d like to share your experience davidmcnally@nhs.net

An imaginary conversation that could have taken place on a visit to an NHS Trust near you

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Developing people, improving emergency care: Caroline Poole’s 2018 journey

In December 2017 I began my Clinical Fellowship, with a focus on evidencing the “state of the nation” of leadership for the allied health professions (AHPs), and its relationship to quality and productivity.  Colleagues at Kingston University Enterprise Limited undertook a fabulous evaluation1 to provide the answers.

We found that AHP leadership was hugely variable and highly complex – 41 different job titles from 43 job descriptions for the “go-to” AHP lead! Little wonder that it was confusing, that AHP leaders were difficult to find and often missing at the decision-making table.

So what?  We found that AHPs in trusts investing in senior leadership were more engaged with improvement work and sharing AHP innovations that impact positively on the quality of patient care.   

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Student mental health & University responsibility

‘Why do you care about student mental health though, aren’t you just in it for the money?’

I’ve heard many variations on this question over the last year, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

It reflects the surprise that many people feel when they hear that I, and others like me in the private student accommodation sector, dedicate significant time and resource to student mental health and well-being.

Poor mental health and distress is much more likely to manifest itself in the home of the student than on campus. Whether it’s homesickness, a panic attack, or a more life-threatening problem such as an eating disorder, it will often be our teams that spot it first.

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Student residences: Why one size no longer fits all

student residences demand changesClayre Massey, associate at Sheppard Robson, discusses why architects have a responsibility to create better student experiences and address issues of mental health.

Research highlights that around half of students going to university see themselves as customers. The “student-client” has arisen from the higher price of education, and led to a growing scrutiny of the quality of facilities on campuses. Universities have responded by increased investment in many aspects of campus life, with directors of estates using design to attract students in an increasingly international marketplace.

But have student residences kept pace with shifting expectations and requirements?

A typology that often conjures up images of tired halls of residences, student living is surely a fundamental way of boosting the student experience, shaping mental wellbeing and breaking down the perceived barriers of going to university. Where students live, in my view, holds the key to making the whole university experience more inclusive. Read more…..

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Academisation: The new Ofsted framework

The impact of academisation

When the topic of academies makes the news headlines it always seems to be for the wrong reason.

academisation - new ofsted framework

At the time of writing, education headlines have been dominated by controversies related to ‘related party’ transactions, terminated funding agreements and allegations of false claims for building and maintenance grants.

Perhaps more significant, has been the current BBC2 documentary series ‘School’, which follows the struggle of a small multi-academy trust in South Gloucestershire to keep its schools afloat in the face of decreasing budgets, falling rolls and challenging Ofsted inspections.

It’s a bleak watch at times, but the overwhelming picture is of a group of professionals operating from a strong moral purpose in the interests of young people and families against what at times seem to be insuperable odds. Read more…..

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An interview with Peter Smith on the future of NHS Procurement

peter smith and the future of nhs procurementFormer UK Health Minster, Dan Poulter, recently shocked the nation with evidence to suggest that the NHS is being “ripped off” by two billion pounds per year.

In a column in the Mail on Sunday, he said: “In short, our hospitals are getting ripped off left, right and centre. And with £18 in every £100 you pay in tax being spent on the NHS, that means you’re getting ripped off.”

Buying more diligently and implementing cost-saving practices is a must if our NHS is to survive a time of great uncertainty. With this in mind, the NHS also has approximately 1.5 million employees that need to be informed and inspired ready to implement the next innovations that will change NHS procurement forever. Read more…..

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