I’d like to start this week’s blog by drawing your attention to another startling set of figures revealed this week, which recorded that staff absences with mental health problems have doubled at hospital trusts across England over the last four years.
There are a number of reasons why this should be the case. While everybody connected with the NHS should be concerned about figures like this, there is also a view reflected by some that it also suggests a greater willingness by people to admit they have problems.
“People are more prepared to tell their employer, to tell their colleagues that they've got stress, anxiety or a mental health problem and that is the reason for their absence," said Danny Mortimer, the NHS employers’ chief executive, this week.
He has also admitted there was "growing pressure, growing demand for our services particularly for admission to acute hospitals" but maintained that the data collected "tells us more about people being prepared to be open about their problems".
Those of us who work in mental health care and face the daily stigma that surrounds it, would no doubt applaud the fact that more people are prepared to be open about their problems. Early intervention is key with most mental health issues, so the more people admit their problems, the better chance we have of caring for them and putting them back on the road to recovery.
Of course, of equal concern is the fact that many NHS staff are facing mental health problems because of the stress of their working environment. Here at Mersey Care we strive hard to ensure everyone has a positive environment at work and want to keep improving so we become one of the best NHS employers in the country. We will only achieve that if we have your feedback, good or bad, either to ‘Tell Joe’ or through your line manager.
With that in mind, it seems prudent to remind you all about the surveys prepared by the Good Governance Institute to help us highlight areas of concern ahead of the CQC inspection in June.
You should all have received your electronic and paper copies of the survey. The Good Governance Institute should also be present at various sites across Mersey Care on 1-2 April distributing the surveys by hand to catch all those people who have not had an opportunity to complete a survey by any other method.
The deadline for the return of the surveys is midnight on Monday, 6 April, 2015. We want you to feel comfortable and speak freely in the knowledge all your views will provided anonymously and we are extremely grateful to all staff that have taken the time to complete the survey. You can also find our new information for staff guide, is available as a hard copy and online here.
Nursing Revalidation Pilot
As many of you will already know, Mersey Care has been chosen as the only mental health trust to take part in a national pilot for a nurses and midwives revalidations scheme. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is proposing that their first members required to revalidate under the new system will be those with a renewal date in April, 2016.
For those who are still unclear about the revalidation process, a short film has been commissioned to help explain all the details, which you can access here.
I would like to personally welcome 115 staff to the Trust next week who are bringing a wealth of experience with them to help deliver our high quality IAPT Services, known as ‘Talk Liverpool.’ The service will be delivered from three clinical hubs in the North, Central and South of the city, and will cover the whole of Liverpool.
Thank you to the many staff from across both Local and Corporate Divisions, who have been working tremendously hard over the last two months to get everything ready for 1 April, when the service is officially launched.
Other than clinical and administrative cover arrangements, the new Mersey Care staff will then have a few days for induction and to settle into their new bases before picking up clinical delivery across the city.
I should also thank Inclusion Matters, the previous provider for the service, who have been extremely helpful in helping with the transfer and we are extremely grateful for their co-operation.
We have already begun a series of communications campaigns designed to ensure all concerned – from service users to GPs and internal Trust services – know about the new services we have undertaken to provide.
Should any of you wish to know anything further about the service, please contact Pat McGuinness, Jane Jamieson or Sheila Hamilton.
Joe Rafferty, Chief Executive