At the end of June, various members of the team met up for a weekend of strategy, well being and relaxation. You see, here at Psychiatry-UK, we can’t stand the corporate retreat clichés of uncool hotel boardrooms and mandatory team fun.  We believe the right environment improves focus, promotes creativity and feeds the soul…. which is precisely why Founder and Business Development Lead Jon Chanter suggested his place in Trewalder, Cornwall as the venue.  I arrived on the Friday evening from Nottingham having been driving for the best part of eight hours.  There was definitely no soul left in me at that point. Add to that the remoteness of the location –  city girl in her new car, made for a somewhat flustered arrival.

The feeling didn’t last. We were staying at a beautiful Grade II listed Chapel conversion, adapted just perfectly for modern living. A hearty homemade vegan soup beckoned.

Saturday kicked off with more of the team joining us (including furry friends Dolly, Poppy and Dewi!). The group was a mix of designated members, admin, patient support services, consultant psychiatrists and of course the executive team.

We spent the day on annual planning with the biggest focus being IT. We also covered governance, service development, wellbeing and sustainability. I spoke at length on the results of  KPI’s over the last 6 months as well as making recommendations on the anonymous team survey results. Andy Montgomery our Medical Lead provided a clinical update and in particular spoke about the supervision and peer review process. Jon provided some very exciting vision into the expansion of our service. Our ADHD lead Adam Joiner covered sustainability and how we could do better in terms of our carbon footprint. We will be looking into accreditation for our positive efforts. Naturally the discussions branched off into a number of other areas which in my view is the beauty of face to face meetings away from every day distraction of the job itself – it is only when you really get under the skin of issues, you find alternative ways to solve problems.

Being the UK’s only digital psychiatry service, the next 12 months are looking very promising.

Cornwall really is a glittering gem of British paradise. To make the most of it, we took a walk along the cliffs late afternoon, followed by a meal at Vega, a local vegan restaurant in Tintagel. I can highly recommend the dhaal.

The drive back to Nottingham on Sunday morning was a lot less stressful and allowed opportunity to reflect on the time spent together with the team: whilst I am an advocate of remote working, there really is no substitute for getting together to really gain an understanding of how the business (and the team) is doing. Bringing our remote team together at a remote location had proven to be hugely beneficial.  I am incredibly proud to be working with such a talented group of people, each of whom bring something unique to the table.  Furthermore, time spent together reinforced the fact that our alignment of purpose really is at the heart of why we choose to work with one another: to improve access to medical expertise for people struggling with their mental health.

As I write this post a week later, I am delighted to say that the well-being theme continues to become becoming embedded into our working day at Psychiatry-UK; I am looking into the provision of corporate yoga and meditation for the team via video conferencing. Maybe the next strategy weekend will be a yoga retreat… Namaste!

Smaira Rana

Chief Operations Officer