New Year Honours 2021: NHS trust chief executive awarded MBE for services to mental health during COVID-19

Jinjer Kandola

Jinjer Kandola, chief executive of Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust, has been awarded an MBE for her services to mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. - Credit: Nathan Clarke

The chief executive of Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust, who lives in Arlesey, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List.

Mrs Harjinder Kandola, known as Jinjer, received the award for her services to mental health, particularly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the pandemic, Jinjer assumed 'gold command' of all mental health services in North Central London, and at short notice led the creation of a new CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services) A&E service spanning North London.

To meet increased demand, Jinjer also led the creation of two new adult mental health A&E services and a 24/7 all-age crisis service across North London.

Speaking about her MBE, Jinjer said: “I am totally overwhelmed and humbled to have been honoured in this way, when I was simply doing something that I love and feel passionate about.

“Anything I have ever achieved has been a team effort, so I feel this honour should be shared with all the inspirational colleagues I have worked with over many years”

Jinjer also explained the impact that COVID-19 has had on mental health services.

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She said: "The first wave had quite a significant impact and we're going through it again now as it's not gone away.

"I think it's actually worse as staff are tired, it's Christmas and the sun's not shining."

Before becoming chief executive, Jinjer worked as deputy chief executive and director of workforce and organisational development at Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust.

She joined the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust in June 2018, and in just over a year led the trust from 'requires improvement' to 'good' following a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in summer 2019.

BEH Trust chair, Mark Lam, said: "We are so proud of Jinjer as we celebrate her extraordinary contribution to mental health.

“Jinjer is an inspiring leader and this strength has never been clearer than in the assured way she has steered us through all the challenges of the pandemic, managing its far-reaching impact on our services.

"We are privileged to have Jinjer leading the trust at this time and could not be more thrilled for her.”

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