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Biography

Geoff is Northern Irish, did his first training as a registered nurse for Learning Disabilities and then mental health nurse training. Geoff has worked in, on and around mental health wards for over thirty-five years. In that time, he has been in just about every position a clinical nurse can have – health care assistant, staff nurse, charge nurse, practice development lead, nurse tutor, nurse researcher and nurse consultant. Occasionally he got to work with really smart people – like Professor Len Bowers. It was Len who recruited Geoff in 2013 to help with the Safewards research trial in the Institute of Psychiatry/King’s. Following the success of the trial, Geoff has been instrumental in making it available for all who want it through. More on safewards at www.safewards.net.

In 2016 Geoff was asked to run a service user founded charity “Bright”, and was is in charge of the Star Wards project (www.starwards.org.uk) for acute inpatient wards. In this role he has continued to support acute care with developing user-friendly resources, providing training, cheerleading, and assisting the national and international dissemination of the good practice until Bright closed in 2021.

Geoff has presented Star Wards and Safewards in Europe and Australia as well as the UK. Geoff also assisted in training and supporting a team from Indonesia in a successful implementation of Safewards and presented Safewards virtually in Mongolia and China. Geoff once presented at the Royal College of Psychiatry dressed as a Pirate.

Geoff also has a degree in English and has been an honorary lecturer in Mental Health at the Universities of Greenwich and West London.

In June 2021 Geoff took up his post as Clinical Supervisor on the NHSE/I project to introduce Safewards to 20 Care of Young People’s wards in the UK.

Research Interests

  • In patient nursing and psychiatry

Expertise and Public Engagement

  • In 2018 Geoff delivered the Skellern Lecture.
  • In 2021 Geoff was awarded the Royal College of Nursing Institute’s Mental Health of the Year Award for his work to make inpatient wards safer for everyone.

Key publications

Bowers L, Brennan G, Winship G, Theodoridou C. Talking with acutely psychotic people: communication skills for nurses and others spending time with people who are very mentally ill. London: City University; 2009