What’s your role at King’s?
I joined King’s as Head of Social Work in October 2018. I spend the majority of my time at King’s College Hospital but we also have social workers at the PRUH and Orpington Hospital, so I also travel across sites. My main responsibility is overseeing the social workers employed by King’s, something which I’m thoroughly enjoying and gives me the opportunity to connect with a large number of patients and staff.
What is World Social Work Day?
World Social Work Day is the key day in the year when social workers worldwide stand together to celebrate the achievements of the profession and take the theme message into their communities and workplaces to raise awareness of social work.
This year's theme is ‘Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships’. The team will be hosting a stand in the Golden Jubilee Atrium from 10am – 3pm today, pop by to meet our social workers and learn more about the profession and the work we do.
Why did you want a role in social work?
I have a passion for people and enjoy the link between systems and how they connect and shape outcomes for individuals. Having been raised on family traditions of nursing and radiography, I decided to buck the trend somewhat in announcing that my career of choice would be in social work. Since qualifying 10 years ago, I have worked across adults and children’s settings in the UK and India.
Tell us more about social work at King’s.
King’s employs social workers to work with adults and children across a range of clinical areas. Each service is unique and meets the needs of the patients and families receiving care and support from that particular specialty.
For example, social workers in cystic fibrosis or renal may work with patients for extended periods of time, who are either inpatients or receiving follow up treatment in the community.
Whereas our Emergency Department (ED) social workers may see different patients from one day to the next. The work is varied and I am extremely proud of the achievements made by the team.
What are your top three priorities as Head of Social Work?
Firstly to develop existing standards of social work provision within the Trust, secondly to support the Trust in its working relationship with external social work provision and lastly to continue to raise the profile of the profession and help it expand into new clinical areas. Having a local authority background is helpful in being able to navigate the decision making of our local authority colleagues in ensuring that we reach the right outcome for our patients.
How many people are in the Social Work Team? What are their roles?
We have a total of 22 social workers working across King’s College Hospital, the PRUH and Orpington Hospital, within 16 different clinical areas.
The team cover Renal, Liver, Palliative Care, Neuro-rehabilitation, Paediatric Medicine, Cystic Fibrosis and Safeguarding among others.
The King’s Homeless Team is also overseen by the Social Work Lead Practitioner.
Tell us something that people may not know about the team?
We are often mistaken for being employed by local authorities or have our roles referred to as ‘Social Services’. While some of our social workers have previously worked within statutory settings and would fit the traditional title of ‘Social Services’, we are very much king’s employees and our roles differ to our professional neighbours employed by councils.
Social work across local authority and NHS do have some similarities though, we are a practice-based profession and academic discipline that promotes social change and development. We believe in social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversity. Social Work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing.