Posted: Sat 7th Oct 2023

North Wales psychiatric nurse honoured with British Empire Medal for 43-Year Career

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Oct 7th, 2023

A Psychiatric Nurse Manager was recognised in the last New Year’s Honours List for her 43 years of work in mental health and was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM).

June Lovell has developed two unique services in North Wales – Prescribed Medication Support Service and Primary Care Mental Health Counselling Service.

In 1994, June set up the medication service focusing on people dependent on prescribed medication that can become dependency forming. Through her drive and determination, the service has extended to the whole of North Wales.

At a special event to receive her award, June thanked her colleagues and family for supporting her work.

She said: “I am very proud and honoured to receive this award in recognition of the work we have done over many years to develop Prescribed Medication and counselling services in North Wales.

“The need for the prescribed medication service developed when I began working in the community and started having many clients referred for prescribed medication withdrawal. We were advised that they were not within our remit, but after seeing the success and the quality-of-life change, I was keen to find a way to set up a service.

“My nursing career began in the North Wales Hospital as a student in 1979, my interest in helping patients with addictions began early on in my career. They opened a new drug unit and I was lucky enough to be selected to work on the unit as a staff nurse, as one of my colleagues said to me there are many routes we can take in life and this was part of mine which would form the bedrock of my career.”

June pioneered the prevention aspect of the service to support the reduction of a range of prescribed medications, currently supporting approximately 250 patients at any time.

She is also part of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Prescribed Drug Dependence looking at the development of a Prescribed Medication Specialist Service across the UK, and is supporting the APPG to develop a national specialist service and helpline, based on the service she created at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – the only health board that has such a service in the UK.

During the event June was presented with her BEM by Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd, Henry George Fetherstonhaugh who congratulated June along with her Manager Dewi Richards, Clinical Operations Manager East, Teresa Owen, Executive Director of Public Health and Iain Wilkie, Interim Director of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities.

In 1995, June also set up a team of eight volunteer student counsellors to support her work. Due to the success, she expanded the programme to support the Local Primary Mental Health Service across four counties in North Wales.

There are today 55 student counsellors, 25 self-employed paid counsellors, plus a further 7 BCUHB employed counsellors, and more than 500 student counsellors have been trained by the service.

June added: “This service currently looks after approximately 300 clients per week from primary care and PMSS, and each year the student programme provides about 9,000 hours a year to the service to support clients.

“Part of my nomination was also for an initiative I undertook for the Health Board with the Wales for Africa programme, which was developing services in Uganda for 12 weeks, which was an amazing experience.”

“I am very conscious these services would not be where they are today and I would not be receiving this medal were it not for the dedication and support of a number of people over many years, and to whom I would like to express my thanks.”

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