4 July 2019

Rachel Luby wins Mental Health Nursing Award

Rachel Luby, Clinical practice lead at John Howard Centre, has won the prestigious Mental Health Nursing Award as part of RCNi Awards 2019. The ceremony took place on 3 June 2019 in central London. Rachel was nominated in recognition of her work on improving sexual health and expression within mental health services as part of a Quality Improvement project on Limehouse Ward.

Rachel Luby (L) celebrates award at RCNi ceremony

“This award means that we are rightly starting to recognised the need to talk about ‘sex'(ual) health, expression, intimacy’ in mental health services. Not just in forensics”, said Rachel. She now plans to publish an article whilst continuing to work with other charities and services.

“My ambition is to get to a point where every patient admitted to an ELFT inpatient ward is offered sexual health screening as standard practice. This then opens the channels for wider discussions about sexual health history and offers opportunities for health promotion and I will be hoping to use QI methodology for this”.

She has led a Quality Improvement project at the Trust’s John Howard Centre in Hackney to transform patient experience. The project started by identifying that there was reluctance and fear around anything related to sexuality. The aim was then to make staff and patients more confident to talk about sexuality in general. The team set themselves the target of seeing a 7 out of 10 confidence rate set by patients when asked about confidence in talking about their sexuality by 2020.

The project team includes a ward psychologist, occupational therapist, junior doctor, nursing staff and service user. The project is classified as having ‘Big I’ involvement, meaning the patient who inspired it is an equal stakeholder in the project team.

Rachel’s personal mental health journey encouraged her to speak out about patients who struggle with intimacy whilst in hospital.


ELFT uses Quality Improvement (QI) to tackle complex issues by following structured steps which include understanding the problem, developing a strategy and ideas for change, testing and analysing data.

Click here to learn more about the ELFT QI method.

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