In partnership with other NHS Trusts nationally, MPFT is providing innovative online therapy to currently serving military personnel across the country and shares the success of this approach as part of #armedforcesweek

Clinicians at MPFT are using One Consultation, an online platform, to offer therapy to military clients in the community during the Coronavirus Pandemic and have been so impressed with the technology that this is likely to become a permanent option for care going forward.

MPFT leads the Joining Forces Network, which was established in 2008 to provide swift, cost effective mental health care to serving personnel. The Network is run by health care professionals, many with first hand military experience, who have a special interest/knowledge of the culture and sensitivities of military personnel.

MPFT works with the other NHS trusts in the Network to offer care close to the MoD patient’s home or their military base.  However, during the current COVID-19 lockdown, it was necessary to rapidly develop alternative ways of offering the community element of the service.

One Consultation has been designed for use in the healthcare sector providing a secure virtual consultation room that a clinician can access and that a patient can join via their web browser, on their smartphone, tablet, or PC. 

Dr Shirley Timson is a Consultant Counselling Psychologist who is using OneConsultation to see patients.  She has carried out assessments and also uses the technology to offer Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. 

EMDR is a powerful therapy designed to help people recover from traumatic events in their lives. During EMDR therapy sessions, the patient works through traumatic or triggering experiences in brief doses while the therapist directs their eye movements, sometimes using a light bar.

Shirley has found this works well online with her screen positioned to display the light bar to the patient whilst she can continue to monitor them.

She says ‘It seems very effective and clients are more than happy.  In some ways it is even better as it can be a more intense experience. 

We are able to offer effective therapy to patients from anywhere in the country and all clients who are being referred to us at the moment know it will be an online session’.

One client said ‘I would not have been able to be so open if I had been in the same room – this is amazing’.

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Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Trust Headquarters, St. George's Hospital, Corporation Street, Stafford ST16 3SR

E-mail: enquiries@mpft.nhs.uk 

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