Early Intervention in Psychosis Service | Celebrating BWC Spirit

Celebrating BWC Spirit

BWC Spirit Logo We are highlighting the amazing things our colleagues have done and achieved during the pandemic.

Our teams have bravely stood by the side of our patients, changed how they have worked to keep key and emergency services running and gone beyond the Trust to help colleagues in other parts of the NHS.

They have done so with an approach and spirit that is uniquely BWC and we want to celebrate that and what has been achieved.

From frontline clinical colleagues to our unseen and often unsung heroes in labs, offices and in our corridors - everyone has had a part to play and we’re sharing some of their stories over the next two weeks.

If you would like to thank individuals or teams either by sharing some kind words, pictures or a short video we would love to see them. You can submit your messages, pictures or videos by emailing bwc.communications@nhs.net

Early Intervention in Psychosis Service

By Tim Newbold, Head of Nursing, Early Intervention in Psychosis Service – Forward Thinking Birmingham 

Early Intervention Team What was your experience of the pandemic? 

It felt very surreal at the beginning and even though we are an experienced service the impact and speed of change we faced was unprecedented and therefore we had little to base our responses on. Initially, things were confusing and a bit frustrating as we had to adapt quickly to new ways of working and feeling that control of how we normally run things was understandably being taken away at times. As a service, we cohesively responded to these challenges and provided elements of guidance and leadership to our wider FTB colleagues.  

As the pandemic progressed and intensified there was fear and concern about patients, staff and families’ safety and added stress due to the rapid pace of changes and information coming out - and sometimes the delay in systems being set up to support the changes in how we were working. Staff sometimes struggled with having to give patients a reduced service and could see the impact on their patients and families who were dealing with the fears and anxieties the pandemic caused as well as the impact of social distancing and the isolating effect it was having on them 

There was less traffic on the road which helped when you are a community service 

What was the hardest part? 

Operating in the unknown for such a sustained period and not knowing when or if things would return to “normal”. 

Not being able to give patients a full service especially when not always being able to offer as much face-to-face contact. 

IT taking some time to catch up with the demand for a new way of working. 

Knowing that some of our new patients that we were taking on were more unwell, as their avenues to help seek during the pandemic had been reduced. 

Not having the same day-to-day face-to-face contact with colleagues which had always been the opportunity to have an instant debrief after a difficult visit or conversation with patients or families. 

The unexpected fatigue that came with working remotely and delivering support through video calls and other media. 

Supporting new staff into the service who were faced with a different way of having an induction, working alongside peers and the day-to-day support that comes from being physically with a team when these norms were restricted 

Having to work from home at times and fit around family needs – home suddenly does not feel like a haven from work but a place of work and not ideally set up to be that way. 

Work/life balance when children weren’t able to go to schools or nurseries.  

How did you cope? 

The services leadership team working purposefully to make things work for us. Staff were able to verbalise concerns and supported in finding solutions around how we needed to work. 

Never being neglectful of understanding the potential impact the pandemic was having on patients and families and responding quickly when there was an opportunity and need to offer face-to-face support safely. 

Adapting to changes when some restrictions were lifted at times and staff offering social contact in places like parks for patients who were socially isolated. 

We were able to talk about how difficult it was for us as individuals and as a team and that it is okay to not be okay. This enabled us to reflect on the impact the pandemic was and is having on us as individuals and as a team. We were able to use this as a base to be dynamic and innovative about how we function so that patients and families continue to receive the best quality service we can provide. As a result, we have probably seen more progression and innovation amid the pandemic than before especially as we wanted to have an effective “recovery” plan in place for our patients and families. 

The proactive response of our partner organisations where some of our teams are sited in making the working environments safe during the pandemic. 


Flexible working patterns to help adapt to times when childcare and caring responsibilities were challenging. 

Leadership and direction were effective so we felt we knew what was happening – leads having a physical presence with the team. 

What did you learn? 

That together as a service we can accomplish almost anything.  

To evaluate some of our visits ie were they all meaningful and necessary face-to-face contacts?  

That we are a resilient service in the face of adversary. 

That you can still strive to be innovative and progress the service even in the most times difficult times. 

The staff that have joined the service during the pandemic have felt supported and given time to adapt to their new roles. 

Life can change quickly.  

Grieving for loss on your own where normally you have family and friends. 

Adapting to new ways of working is challenging but striving to do the best. 

How do you think it changed the team? 

Made us rely on each other more. 

Made us re-evaluate our service delivery and how important maintaining contact with patients and their families was. 

Made us stronger and closer. 

We saw our drive and determination to continue to offer safe effective delivery of care.  

Getting to know all our patients and covering each other's work. 

We kept each other informed more as we didn’t get together as a team as often.

How to adapt to not seeing colleagues face to face each day and realise how important it had been to debrief after a difficult day.

We learned to keep in contact in different ways.

Beyond your team, who has inspired you during the pandemic? 

Front-line workers who sacrificed their lives for others. 

Family and friends who have supported us in the work we do, shared our anxieties, and have been a constant during times when restrictions limited other social contact. 

Religious affiliates who tried to give hope.  

Captain Tom. 

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