What is the Forensic Spoke?
Forensic Recovery College Spoke is based on Oxford Health Trust Forensic Wards. Forensic Mental Health Services provide assessment and treatment for people with mental health problemsa history of criminal offending, or who are at risk of offending.
In April 2017 The Thames Valley Forensic service were successful in a bid to set up and develop a Forensic Spoke of the Oxfordshire Recovery College. The aim was to be able to offer courses on the Littlemore Hospital site to all patients and staff, especially those who do not have leave to access the community courses from Recovery Colleges in Oxfordshire or Buckinghamshire.
As in the community, the Forensic spoke takes an educational approach to recovery rather than a clinical or therapeutic one. This means that it’s believed the more we can learn about ourselves, a particular diagnosis, or about tried-and-tested strategies, the more we can look after ourselves and each other.
In September 2017 a steering group was set up to develop the spoke and build the partnership between Forensic Services and the college.
The group consisted of:
• Staff from the Forensic Service, with representation from each discipline.
• Senior management.
• Tutors and the Head of College.
Today the Forensic Recovery college spoke is fully established as a service. By November 2019, 140 students had registered, consisting of an equal amount of staff working in Forensic Services and patients living on the wards across Littlemore, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury.
The college offers a range of courses based on requests from students at the Spoke, and has also delivered tutor training, so that students can start to design their own courses.
Both staff and patients are on an equal footing as students while attending the Recovery college courses, including the enrolment process. Forensic staff can attend in their work time.
Even though there is little distinction between staff and service users attending our courses (both groups attend as students) we often get asked why people should get involved. Over the course of time we have found the following:
• It helps to build therapeutic relationship between both groups (Patients/staff)
• Opportunity for a different level of interaction between patients and staff, as everyone is a student.
• Safe space to ask questions about their own health.
• Look after our own wellbeing.
• Support other students in their recovery.
The Forensic Spoke of the Recovery College does not offer therapeutic interventions, so if patients choose to attend the college it does not form part of their formal treatment package. However, it will complement it.
The Forensic Spoke is lucky enough to have Petr Neckar as its Forensic Recovery College Lead.
Please contact Petr directly if you are within the Forensic Service’s and would like to know how you can get involved – 07789877320 or firstname.lastname@example.org