South London mental health trusts come together to examine the role of social media in clinical practice and collaboration @SWLSTG

South London mental health trusts come together to examine the role of social media in clinical practice and collaboration

Doctors from three leading NHS mental health trusts have come together to look at how to make best use of social media in their work and the opportunities it presents.

The South London Mental Health Community Partnership (SLP) Social Media Conference for Clinicians, held on 13 June, heard from speakers on a range of topics including ’to tweet or not to tweet’, scientific journals and social media, and regulatory, policy and information governance perspectives.

As well as speakers from the three SLP trusts, speakers including Peter Markham from the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Jo Wren from the General Medical Council offered their own perspective on the role that social media plays in their organisations and networks.

The NHS trusts that make up the SLP are Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust (SWLSTG).

Dr Mark Potter, Medical Director of SWLSTG, said: “Just a few years ago it would have been impossible to imagine that a social media platform such as Twitter would form such an important part of the working lives of so many health service staff. For me, it’s been great to see staff, carers, patients and families given space to interact and inform each other”.

Dr Derek Tracy, Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust spoke about the role of scientific journals and social media. He said: “The greater dissemination of scientific knowledge is enormously important, and the British Journal of Psychiatry and Royal College of Psychiatrists want to be at the heart of this, engaging with the public, those who use mental health services, and our work-force. Social media offers us great opportunities to do this. I am also so pleased to see the strengthening relationships between our South London NHS Trusts – the collegiate and warm spirit in the room was really evident, and I hope this continues to grow.”

Dr Sridevi Kalidindi, Consultant Psychiatrist and Associate Medical Director at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust said: “The use of social media and Twitter in particular, can be an incredible force for good in the mental health care sector. It connects people and organisations, facilitating the sharing of up-to-date evidence-base, good practice and powerful advocacy for mental health service users, carers and staff. Some recent outcomes include facilitation of national policy change, increased numbers of trainee doctors choosing psychiatry as their career path and a peer group that spans countries, disciplines and related sectors.

This is the second in a series of conferences that bring SLP leaders together to share best practice across South London. The first conference, held on 20 April this year, looked at how the three trusts could learn from each other to improve patient care pathways.