stressed employeeWest London Mental Health NHS Trust has launched a new staff training programme to help mental health staff cope with job-related stress, improve patient care and boost overall hospital wellbeing.

The project will evaluate the Trust's existing clinical supervision for its 1,769 nurses and occupational therapists. Researchers will then consider staff feedback to design a new policy to ensure nurses and occupational therapists have regular access to evidence-based, high-quality clinical supervision.

Additional supervisor training involving key nurses and occupational therapists from across the Trust is being rolled out in February, in preparation for piloting the new clinical supervision programme later this year.

"This programme is excellent news for our patients, nurses and occupational therapists," explained consultant forensic nurse, John Carthy, who is leading the programme.

"It has been widely reported that mental health staff who work with patients who have severe and enduring mental health needs are known to be at risk of occupational stress and burnout.

"The positive relationship between good quality supervision and lower levels of stress among health professionals, leading to improved outcomes for patients is widely recognised. For their own benefit and that of their patients, mental health staff should have access to regular clinical supervision."

The new programme includes introducing a tool, the Manchester Clinical Supervision Scale, which will enable the trust to monitor the outcomes of clinical supervision in terms of benefits to staff wellbeing and patient outcomes.

The programme will be supported by leading international experts in clinical supervision including Osman Consulting's Dr Edward White and Dr Julie Winstanley, as well as Brigid Proctor, author of the Proctor Model of Clinical Supervision.