Helping people is a passion for Dr Rajesh Balasubramanian.
He has worked for the NHS for 19 years and has spent his entire career so far in EPUT and its predecessor organisations.
Rajesh qualified as a doctor in India and specialised in psychiatry because he felt there was a stigma about mental illness that meant patients were marginalised in society.
He is a consultant psychiatrist for the Trust’s specialist Mental Health Liaison Team, who work closely with the Accident and Emergency Department at Basildon University Hospital.
The multi-disciplinary team provide 24/7 care to assess people in mental health crisis who attend A&E and ensure they receive the treatment they need.
He was the lead consultant in setting up the team at Basildon in 2013 and helped to set up a similar team at Southend in 2015.
Rajesh said: “As a doctor I dedicate myself to direct patient care in the NHS and I have so far not been keen on management roles or working for private health care providers.
“I chose to work here because I like working for the patients in the NHS and embrace the NHS’s ‘six Cs of Care’ – Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage and Commitment.”
He is committed to ensuring that patients receive both physical and mental health care simultaneously to support their recovery and wellbeing.
In one case, he was at home late in the evening when a hospital director contacted him about an extremely anaemic and anxious patient who was refusing a blood transfusion and at risk of imminent heart failure.
Rajesh drove to the hospital to reassure and support the patient, enabling them to have the life-saving transfusion.
On another occasion, a patient with dementia was unable to communicate her needs and admitted to hospital with a pulmonary embolism.
During a mental health review, Rajesh noticed she had abdominal tenderness. He referred her for further tests and she was diagnosed with early ovarian cancer.
Rajesh also worked on a joint pilot project with the Cardiothoracic Unit at Basildon University Hospital to set up an after care service for patients who have survived a cardiac arrest.
It became one of the first services of its kind in the country to provide mental and physical care for this group of patients.
Rajesh said it was one of his “most cherished memories” because it led to the new service being developed and is being replicated in other NHS organisations.
He is also a strong advocate of partnership working and specialists working together.
“Unlike in many other countries, multi-disciplinary team working is exemplary in the NHS, with systems in place to provide the best patient care,” he said.
Rajesh is keen to raise awareness of mental health and support healthcare colleagues to best support people.
In a previous role, he visited care homes for people with dementia to support patients, review their medication, and help staff better understand their patients, particularly if they were showing signs of challenging behaviour.
Rajesh said: “I enjoy my work and have not considered working in private health care. Working in the NHS helps me have a personal sense of satisfaction.”
In this video, Rajesh explains the work of the mental health liaison team