Left to right: Amy George, Mayura Deshpande and Liz Taylor
Amy George - Learning Disabilities Nurse
Amy is a Learning Disabilities Nurse based in South East Hampshire and has worked for the NHS for 10 years. Currently, Amy is working as a Strategic Health Facilitator, a role she has held since 2014. Amy's job is to improve the healthcare received by people with a learning disability, making mainstream health services ‘Learning Disability Friendly’.
Amy delivers training packages for other health professionals to support them when providing healthcare to a patient with Learning Disabilities. She explains: "All patients registered with a Learning Disability should have annual health checks with their GP. Unfortunately, many patients were not receiving this and so one aspect of my job has been to support GPs, train them on the common health needs of someone with a learning disability; ensure they understand why it is important to do these health checks and make sure they have the right resources in place to help them carry these out. Our area is now in the top three in England for carrying out annual health checks".
Amy's grandmother was also a learning disabilities nurse and when Amy was younger, she used to attend Christmas parties at some of the homes her Grandmother worked in. It was here that Amy says her interest in supporting others began; "I have always wanted to be a learning disabilities nurse and my current role is giving me a great opportunity to work with other services and improve what they deliver, tackle some opinions and misconceptions about what a learning disability is and seeing change has been really exciting for me".
Mayura Deshpande - Clinical Director
Mayura has worked in the NHS since 1999 when she became a junior doctor in Psychiatry. Having fulfilled many roles, she took on the position of Clinical Director at Bluebird House in Calmore, Southampton in 2010 which she has done ever since.
In addition, Mayura is also an Associate Medical Director for the Trust and Clinical Lead for the National Network of Adolescent Medium Secure Units, of which Bluebird House is a part. As if that were not enough, Mayura is also Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Professional Practice and Ethics Committee – ethics and philosophy are areas of special interest for Mayura which is why she took on this role.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of Bluebird House and Mayura is extremely proud of the service delivered to young people and families that access this service.
She comments: “One favourite aspect of my role is every single time we (the team at Bluebird House) achieve a good outcome for a young person in our care. It is a really worthwhile service, despite the challenges we sometimes face; we are making a difference to some of the most deprived young people and their families in our society”.
Liz Taylor - Associate Director of Nursing for Children and Families
With a career spanning 36 years, Liz joined the NHS in 1981 as a student nurse and has held a variety of roles, having qualified as a Registered Nurse, a Registered Midwife and a Registered Health Visitor. Liz explains: “My mum was a district nurse and I was definitely inspired by her to become a nurse myself – she made the job look brilliant…and it is!”
Liz finds it a great privilege to be helping families and children, she is constantly amazed at the strength and hard work parents put in to caring for their child (or children) and the numerous jobs they are prepared to do, in order to provide the best for their family.
“In my role I see a lot of women who have been empowered by the NHS. I work with some incredible women; colleagues and mothers alike; but also men and dads too. It’s a fantastic position to be in.”
Liz spent several years putting together a Health Visitor Implementation Plan which sets out a whole new way of working in the Health Visiting sector and helped to double the workforce. Her proudest “and loveliest” moment is the day they reached the target of required Health Visitors in the county – it took 4 years of hard work “I felt like a bell needed to ring out that day!”
Amy, Mayura, Liz (and the thousands of other women working at Southern Health), we applaud you!