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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

Five Minutes With...A Deputy Director of Operations

Published: 10/08/2022
This month we meet with Deputy Director of Operations, Marimouttou Coumarassamy, for our latest Five Minutes With feature. In the article, we get to learn more about Coumar’s role at the Trust and what inspired him to work in the mental health sector.

Hello Coumar, please can you tell us about your role at BSMHFT and explain what a typical day looks like for you?

I originally joined the Trust back in October 2003 as a Staff Nurse working in the Reaside Clinic, our secure forensic mental health facility. Over the years, I have worked my way up to where I am today as the Deputy Director of Operations for the Trust. I am responsible for overseeing many activities such as staff requirements, planning and monitoring the day-to-day running of business to ensure smooth progress or making operational decisions that align to our corporate objectives.

Deputy Director of Operations, Marimouttou Coumarassamy
Deputy Director of Operations, Marimouttou Coumarassamy
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What inspired you to choose your profession and what made you decide to specialise in your field?

It all links back to my dad. My dad suffered from Parkinson’s disease and despite this was the main breadwinner, he was a Laundry Assistant in a hospital.

When I was young, I would sometimes go to work with my dad and help him. I started having interactions with many hospital workers from Domestic Assistants up to Nurses, Doctors, and Surgeons. I thought of doing some career in healthcare, then a nursing opportunity came up, so I decided to study nursing. So, if you ask me who inspired me to take this career, I would always say, my dad.

My interest, or speciality I suppose, would be in forensic psychiatry, so supporting people who were mentally ill at the time they committed an offence and are now in our care. After just one year at our forensic mental health clinic, Reaside, I decided to enrol myself for a Masters in Forensic Mental Health Care at the University of Birmingham and later I completed a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Keele University for healthcare management.

You mentioned you were a nurse at our Reaside clinic, do you ever miss the hands-on nursing role now you are in a management role?

It is important to me that service users still feel comfortable to come and chat to me and that I maintain a relationship with them. Just this week I visited one of our centres and a patient called me by name and started up a conversation. I like visiting as much as I can, being present and easily accessible. I am a people person, I attend ward rounds, people will walk with me and tell me about their day or what they have been up to. I might not be on the frontline as much, but I try my best to be present where I can.

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How do you look after your own health and wellbeing?

I try to keep active, I play cricket at least twice a week which helps me keep up the exercise. Outside of that, I visit my friends and family as much as I can. It has been a little tricky over the years due to COVID, but I like to see my mom and family back in Pondicherry, India.

What's the most interesting thing about you that people might not already know?

When I do visit home, I take a trip to a famous waterfall in South India and submerge myself in it. It is super refreshing and really makes me feel connected to nature, here I am, pictured doing just that in my Arsenal kit… oh yes, I am an Arsenal fan too!

Describe yourself in three words.

Human, focused, plausible.