THE READINESS OF PROFESSIONALS IN THE UK MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM TO ENGAGE IN SHARED LEARNING

This source preferred by Sarah Hean

Authors: Hean, S., Staddon, S. and Clapper, A.

Start date: 4 October 2012

BACKGROUND Concern about the mental health of the UK prison population led to the Bradley Report (2009)reviewing service provision for people with mental health problems in the criminal justice system. Bradley advocated that tra ining be undertaken jointly between mental health and court services to encourage partnership working. To date, formal interprofessional learning (IPL) opportunities are not yet available for professionals across these agencies.

For these to be successfully designed and implemented, the attitudes of pro fessionals within these services towards IPL must be better understood, firstly to encourage their engagement and then, secondly, to evaluate the impact of this trainig. OBJECTIVESThis paper presents the empirical findings of a study that explored the attitudes of professionals in the mental health and court services towards team working and collaborative learning, their sense of professional identity and the perceived patient centredness of their practice. The differences in the above attitudes by gender, age, agency, managerial position and geographical location are presented. METHODSThe study app lied an adaptation of the Reid et al (2006) RIPLS questionnaire to a sample of 52 professionals from a range of services within the mental and criminal justice systems. RESULTSResults showed that attitudes towards shared learnin g are uniformally positive in this context although significant differences between the perspectives of professionals from different agencies on the benefits of shared learning, significant differences in geographical location with regard to the centrality of trust and respect to effective team working as well as significant gender differences in patient centredness were uncovered.

CONCLUSIONSThe paper concludes with the implications of these findings f or the development of IPL programmes for improved interagency working betwee n the mental health and court services, as well as suggesting recommendations for the future validation of the RIPLS tool for professional groups not yet in receipt of interprofessional training.

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