Forensic Recovery College shortlisted for a prestigious HSJ award

Oxford Health's Forensic Recovery College has been selected as a finalist in this year's HSJ Patient Safety Awards

Forensic Recovery College shortlisted for a prestigious HSJ award

The ground-breaking college, based at the Littlemore Mental Health Centre, Oxford, is one of only a handful of services in England working in forensic mental health services. It helps forensic patients manage their mental health and undertake their recovery journey in the same way as community patients. At present it runs one remote course a week for forensic patients and staff in Oxfordshire and Bucks.

Petr Neckar, Head of the Forensic Recovery College, and his team have been shortlisted for the service user engagement and co-production award category. All the courses – on wellbeing, understanding mental illness, or living skills – are co-produced between tutors with lived experience, including forensic patients, and professional tutors. Courses are for forensic services staff too, who take part on an equal footing with patients. The team has been invited to the glittering HSJ awards ceremony at the Manchester Central Convention Complex in September.

Dr Jude Deacon, Director of Forensic Mental Health, said: “This is richly deserved by Petr and his team. Their innovative and creative approach has blazed a trail for forensic services across the country. The Forensic Recovery College enables patients in secure services to access the tools they need to help them on their recovery, just like patients in any other setting. Importantly, it also empowers them in what is inevitably a restrictive environment. I’m keeping my fingers crossed they win on the night!”

Petr said: “I’m really proud of all our tutors and students. We see huge changes in forensic patients when they get a say in how the college is run and how the courses empower them to be the best person they can. It’s great to watch them progress from service user to student and tutor.

“We bring the Forensic Recovery College to patients who couldn’t otherwise access it because their movements are restricted. People choose to come and take control of their care. We use an empowering and educational approach to mental health recovery. The more we can learn about ourselves, our diagnosis, or tried-and-tested strategies, the more we can look after ourselves and each other. Everything we do is co-produced with someone with lived experience, which is more challenging in a forensic environment.”

A great example of co-production by the Forensic Recovery College, developed in collaboration with the Oxfordshire Recovery College, is the Library of life. Watch this collection of videos of college students’ recovery journeys, which premiered at the Ultimate Picture Palace cinema in Oxford last month.

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Published: 20 June 2022