A mental health provider is offering staff the chance to take part in meetings to openly discuss the social and emotional impact of caring for patients.

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has become the first trust in the country to run the Schwartz Rounds, in a mental health setting.

The pilot project involves a series of meetings offering employees involved in all aspects of patient care the opportunity to openly and honestly discuss issues that arise in caring for patients.

The Schwartz Rounds are intended as a safe space for employees to talk about how work can impact on them and the way they feel and are part of a national project, hosted by the Kings Fund to improve patient care and satisfaction rates for people working in the NHS.

Among the benefits are said to be an increased insight into social and emotional aspects of patient care; increased feelings of compassion toward patients; and increased readiness to respond to patients’ and families’ needs.

They also lead to better teamwork, communication and mutual appreciation of colleagues.

Staff can also enjoy less stress and isolation and give and receiving support.

Graham Spencer, ward manager said: “The rounds are essentially a monthly forum for professionals to come together in recognition of the emotionally demanding nature of the work we do.

“It’s an opportunity to explore and reflect upon our experiences with a view to looking after each other and ultimately improving patient care. Feedback so far has been extremely positive so we hope to roll this out to other areas of the trust in the future.”

The trust has been running the pilot at the since November 2011.