PSYCHIATRISTS from France said bonjour to England when they visited a mental health trust to get more insight into how to improve care in their country.

The team, from the Association Nationale des Psychiatres Presidents et Vice Presidents des Comissions Medicales d’Etablissement des Centres Hospitaliers, travelled from France to visit services offered by the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trusts.

They visited Edgware Community Hospital, in Barnet.

Dr Marie-Noelle Petit, President of the ANPCME was part of the team who visited.

She said: “We knew there are some great things going on in England to improve the care of patients. We think there is much to learn and we wanted to see it for ourselves.

“We have a system for GPs to talk with psychiatrists but it isn’t as formalised as it is in this country, and we wanted to understand how it functions here because demand is only going to increase, and we need to have a better way of working between psychiatrists and GPs in France to make things more efficient.

“We were also keen to understand more about your care coordinators and how their focus can make a real difference to a patient’s life.”

Consultant Psychiatrist Stephanie Vergnaud said: “France is one of our closest neighbours and while they have much to learn from us, we have much to learn from them too.

“I was delighted that the French delegation wanted to visit BEH, and I think showing them our young peoples services demonstrated excellent scope for future cooperation and further exchanges.”

Marie Keirle, French Embassy spokesperson, said: “Arranging these information gathering trips is a great way of ensuring that health and social services are better coordinated across Europe.

“Learning from each other, and sharing that learning, is an important way that we can improve care across the European health community.”