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Saturday 16 February 2019
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
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Ambassador of children’s mental health services shortlisted for top NHS award

Chris Kirk consultation
Chris Kirk, CAMHS RISE lead nurse, engaged in a patient consultation

An experienced nurse, renowned for spearheading developments in Derby and Southern Derbyshire’s emergency mental health services for children and young people, is in the running to receive a regional NHS recognition award for his achievements.

Chris Kirk, lead nurse for our CAMHS RISE (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services - Rapid Intervention, Support and Empowerment) team has been shortlisted as a finalist for the East Midlands NHS Recognition ‘leading for service improvement and innovation award’ for the commitment and dedication he has shown to enhance the city’s healthcare provision for young people who experience a crisis, particularly those who have seriously self-harmed or are having suicidal thoughts.

Chris’s pioneering work has, with the backing of NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Erewash Clinical Commissioning Group, facilitated the development of Derby’s emergency mental health services for children – transforming them from a limited assessment service for young people who were self-harming or experiencing a crisis, to a specialist seven-day integrated liaison team, available to support both hospital staff and GPs. 

Transforming children's emergency mental healthcare

Since its inception earlier this year, Derbyshire Healthcare’s CAMHS RISE has changed the way care is delivered for young people experiencing mental ill health in Derby and South Derbyshire. The team has aided a 50% reduction in the number of young people transferring from Royal Derby Hospital’s children’s emergency department (CED) into a hospital bed, and increased the number of children and young people seen on the same day as their arrival in CED by 250%. The team has received a 95% satisfaction rating from those who have used its services.

Sarah Bramley, Specialist Occupational Therapist, nominated Chris for the East Midlands NHS Recognition Award. She said: “Chris is a leader who promotes and inspires confidence in others, at whatever level people are at and in whatever field or area they work in. 

“The CAMHS RISE team cannot thank him enough for how much he has done to improve children’s mental health services locally, how many children and young people's lives he has saved, and how many families he has helped to stay together – either through direct work or through his empowerment and leadership of the team.

"Chris promotes and inspires confidence in others"

“Moreover, his skills, experiences and passion have been acknowledged by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) who invited Chris to sit as a standing member on the crisis care expert reference group in January 2016 – a nationwide taskforce focussed on achieving better access to 24/7 urgent and emergency mental healthcare for children and young people.”

The CAMHS RISE team also supports the wider CAMHS provision across Derby and Southern Derbyshire and was instrumental in CAMHS receiving an ‘outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in its recent inspection of Derbyshire Healthcare’s services.

Now in its fourth year, the East Midlands NHS Recognition Awards – run by the East Midlands Leadership Academy – celebrates leaders at all levels and across all professions, especially those who have ultimately improved people’s health and the public’s experience of the NHS.

The winner of the award will be announced at the East Midlands NHS Recognition Awards ceremony on 1 December 2016 at St Martin’s House and Conference Centre in Leicester.