Dr Jo Ashcroft, Macmillan Clinical Psychologist
Dr Jo Ashcroft is a Macmillan Clinical Psychologist, who has been working in the Cancer Psychological Support (CaPS) Team within the Trust since 2018.
Tell us in a few sentences about your role at St George’s?
I work in the Cancer Psychological Support (CaPS) Team alongside psychology, counselling and liaison psychiatry colleagues. We support St George’s cancer patients and their relatives to cope with and adjust to the emotional and psychological challenges which can come with cancer.
A range of short-term talking therapies is offered by counselling and psychology, on the wards, in outpatients and within group programs. Our team supports patients in managing cancer alongside existing mental health issues, and our liaison psychiatrist supports those with more complex mental health needs. To support our cancer colleagues we also provide training and supervision in psychological skills.
How has your role changed since Covid-19?
I support a reduced caseload of patients by phone as I have been redeployed to the Covid-19 Staff Support and Wellbeing service. The rapid development of this service is credit to a huge number of colleagues across St George’s Hospital.
My role has been to support the development and review of new and existing resources for staff wellbeing, which are now on our new Covid-19 Staff Support and Wellbeing intranet page. I am also working with other colleagues to offer regular drop in sessions for staff and linking in with wards to offer support where needed.
What are some of the challenges you and the team have faced?
It has been hard for our roles to be divided across staff support, training and education and some continuity of our previous clinical work.
We want to do the best for everyone and it can be hard to find the balance. A challenge has been working with new colleagues at a high pace, but it’s been a great opportunity to connect multiple people and services in the Trust in with the shared goal of supporting staff.
Tell us about some of the support on offer for staff?
As many staff will now be aware we have a Covid-19 Support and Wellbeing phone line and email, continued one-to-one phone support from our staff counselling service, drop in sessions for staff and wellbeing resources on our intranet. Find out more information here.
We know that the Covid-19 situation is evolving quickly, as are the support and wellbeing needs of staff. We are therefore creating ‘link’ psychologists who will be able to get to know your teams and be a regular point of contact to think about what support is best for you at any given time, and how best to put this in place.
Finally, what has impressed or inspired you about the response of our staff to Covid-19?
It’s been moving to see everyone coming together in such difficult circumstances. What we’re going through as staff is emotionally and physically exhausting, so that shared compassion and support, both emotionally and practically, is amazing to see.