Published: 19 March 2010 at 16:27
Delegates from Palestine universities travel to UK to seek collaboration
Health professionals from the Islamic University of Gaza, An Najah University of Nableus and the Palestinian Ministry of Health visited Anglia Ruskin University and its partner mental health service providers (North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and South Essex Partnership Trust).
The visit to Essex was organised between World Health Organisation (WHO) and Anglia Ruskin University with a view to enhancing mental health university education and services in Palestine.
The mental health needs of Palestinians are complex. Dr Samir Qouta, Head of Psychology Department at the Islamic University of Gaza says:
Dr Qouta, a clinical psychologist and expert researcher in children and young people affected by psychological trauma, is looking to Anglia Ruskin University for collaboration and supervision in research projects on trauma, and to gain from our expertise in running courses on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Improving Access to Psychological Therapies.
Anglia Ruskin University has an excellent record in delivering such courses in the East of England according to Sue Kerr, Head of Mental Health & Learning Disability department.
The Faculty of Health & Social Care (FHSC) at Anglia Ruskin University and WHO are collaborating to support the Palestinian Ministry of Health and the Islamic University in the development of their mental health education and practice. Paul O’Halloran, WHO Regional Consultant for the Middle East, Allen Senivassen, Senior Lecturer, and Ruth Jackson (Deputy Dean) and Steve Wood from FHSC have been working together for over a year to establish this collaboration which has resulted in the Palestinian delegation visiting Anglia Ruskin for education opportunities and its partner mental health service providers for delivery of sound practice.
Professor David Humber, Anglia Ruskin University Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of FHSC, welcomed the delegates and WHO representative at a conference entitled ‘Transforming mental health education and practice’. He emphasised the leading role the FHSC is playing in research and education across East of England and globally and about the dynamic relationship with the partner Trusts.
Dr Patrick Geoghegan, Chief executive of South Essex Partnership University NHS Trust (SEPT), met with the delegates and spoke passionately about mental health services being developed in South Essex. The services include the redevelopment of Rochford Hospital which provides a modern, therapeutic environment where people with mental health needs can receive the care they need with dignity. He emphasises that SEPT and Anglia Ruskin has had a long-standing relationship and that both organisations are very aware of the challenges and the opportunities that lie ahead.
The delegates visited Mid Essex IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological therapies) team in Maldon where they were met by Krishna Singh, Clinical Director for IAPT, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, and her team. The senior doctors had the chance to look around the service facility, meet the projects’ partners including the local Richmond Fellowship team, and find out more about the important work undertaken by the team.
The Mid Essex IAPT team won the local contract to provide IAPT services through the world class commissioning process. Speaking on behalf of IAPT, Pieter du Toit, Manager of the Service, said:
The delegates also visited the acute services at the Linden centre, Broomfield Hospital, and the Early Intervention in Psychosis team at Baddow Road. At the Linden they were met by Paul Keedwell and Margaret Dowsett, Director and Associate Director of nursing, along with Peter Flack, clinical manager and his clinical team. They were impressed by the services offered at the centre for acute patients, and explored opportunities for exchange of professionals between the two countries in future. After their visit to the Early intervention in Psychosis team, led by Rachel Lofthouse, Mary St Aubyn, Chairman of North Essex Partnership Foundation NHS Trust presented the delegates with engraved paper-weight gifts from the Trust.
Mary St Aubyn said:
At The Haven in Colchester Heather Castillo, Chief Executive of the project, talked to the delegates about how this community service for people with complex mental health needs is having a positive impact on its users.
While visiting the mental health services, Dr Ayesh Samour, Consultant Psychiatrist, Head of Mental Health Directorate for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, explained the difficulties they experience at home:
In terms of collaboration he said:
Allen Senivassen, Anglia Ruskin host organiser, commented:
He thanks all his colleagues at the University and in the Trusts for the warm welcome offered to the delegates, and Paul O’Halloran, WHO Representative, who masterminded the visit.Reflecting on the visit Paul O’Halloran said: