19 May 2021

Waleed Fawzi is the new Trust-wide Lead for Mental Health Care of Older People (MHCOP). Waleed, who started his new post in March 2021, discusses his hopes for the role. 

When did you join ELFT? 
I joined ELFT in May 2011, shortly after completing my training in south London. I haven’t looked back since, time does fly!

What other positions have you held in the Trust? 
I worked initially as a locum consultant in City & Hackney for two-and-a-half years before joining substantively in October 2013. I was the lead for Payment by Results for Mental Health Care for Older People (MHCOP) from 2012 to 2014. This was a steep learning curve; I learned about the structure of the NHS and how services in the Trust are organised. I was then the lead clinician for City and Hackney MHCOP from 2014. During this time I led on the older adults’ inpatient service centralisation, Quality Improvement in MHCOP and supported the Dementia Alliance in reorganising our enhanced Dementia Service in C&H.
What does your new role involve? 
It is a strategic role and as such does not carry operational responsibility. I have a wide remit across the Trust; very broadly my role involves developing a Trust-wide strategy for mental healthcare of older people, setting up a network for older adults’ services to promote best practice and providing clinical input into relevant strategic developments, such as the Mental Health Transformation programme. 

What are your first steps? 
The pandemic has shaped my first few months in post. Columbia ward moving to East Ham Care Centre to create a green zone for Barts Health has been a huge logistic and clinical challenge. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the Columbia / Cazaubon team led by Alan Clarke. They have managed this herculean task safely in weeks supported by the whole Trust and John Hill and the estates team.
I am now looking forward to the Mental Health Transformation programme and to working more closely with our partners to provide joined- up and improved care to older people in east London, Luton and Bedfordshire. We are very lucky to have appointed Viral Kantaria as our Programme Director for Community Mental Health Transformation and I am looking forward to working with him and colleagues across the Trust to transform our services.

How has mental health care for older people changed in ELFT over your career? 
Enormously and for the better!
We had exciting developments in our community and dementia services. We merged community teams with dementia care teams across the 3 London boroughs and are now aligning them to neighbourhoods. Our community services have improved significantly and this enabled us to reduce our reliance on inpatient beds. In City & Hackney we had a successful investment in the dementia service to provide post diagnostic care and support.
Ten years ago we had nine inpatient wards which did not provide the full range of care; we are now providing excellent care with fewer beds. We also have an income generating old age forensic service with no additional resources within our reduced bed base. Our ward MDTs are highly skilled and work across disciplines: mental and physical health nurses (diabetes & TVN), doctors, OTs, physios, psychologists, therapists (art, dance & music), dieticians & SaLT.
Additionally geriatrician sessions and joint working with Barts in 2020 reduced unnecessary transfers, improved physical healthcare and provided integrated care. These changes have been largely successful and were rewarded with national awards (Nursing Times and RCPsych Awards).

Have pressures on NHS services changed? 
Not only do we need to continue to provide CQC outstanding mental health care, but we also need to collaborate and provide joined up and integrated physical health and social care with our partners whilst involving our patients and their families.

How is the NHS – and the Trust – responding to those challenges? 
We are working across the North East London integrated care systems (ICS) and the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes ICS to find new ways of collaborative and joined-up working.

What are your hopes for our mental health care for older people? 
To continue to provide outstanding care and learn from and improve on the older patients’ experience of receiving care.
I am privileged to work with dedicated and excellent colleagues in MHCOP; it is my role to listen to them and to support them in what they do so incredibly well.