Healthcare boss speaks of ‘tremendous honour’ at receiving honorary doctorate from Keele
The leader of a local NHS trust has said he is humbled to receive an honorary doctorate from Keele University, and praised the partnership between the two institutions.
Neil Carr OBE, Chief Executive of Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT), was on campus to receive an honorary doctor of science degree, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of education and research within mental health and community care, and his significant contribution to the University.
Neil, a mental health nurse by background and training, said the honorary doctorate was a “tremendous honour”, and praised Keele’s approach to widening access to nursing courses, and improving healthcare practice and outcomes through research - much of which is done in partnership with MPFT.
Neil said: “MPFT is committed to our relationship with Keele and with higher education. The reality is straightforward – NHS organisations that think about research and undertake research, that innovate practice, are far more effective in obtaining better and best outcomes for service users, for our patients.
“To me, that’s why it’s so important that students have the opportunity to explore different ways of working. I am absolutely committed to ensuring that nursing in particular works in a way that we can challenge the way we do things, and bring about meaningful change.”
Neil talked about the challenges of running a healthcare trust over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, and praised the staff who did everything they could to keep the Trust going in extremely challenging circumstances.
He said: “For me, what’s so fundamentally important is staff have looked after their own welfare as well as the welfare of others, because we’ve asked staff to think and work outside of their comfort zones, and to sustain that really does take some time. Staff have responded with good grace and taken on radically different jobs to perhaps the ones we were asking them to do pre-pandemic, but for me I think one of the things that I’m most impressed with is just how staff have responded.”
He also spoke about the wide range of opportunities that today’s nursing students are presented with at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, and encouraged this week’s graduates to see their ceremonies as the start of a new chapter in their lives.
Neil added: “My advice would be to map your career, plan your career. There are opportunities available for colleagues that I could only dream of when I was in their position and first qualified. Ultimately, see this as the beginning of your journey and not the end of your journey.”