Chief Executive's Blog: New year, new start

Happy New Year

I’d like to start my first blog of 2016 by wishing service users, members of staff, carers, colleagues and friends a happy new year. I know 2015 was a busy one with the opening of Clock View, the CQC inspection and the launch of our zero suicide policy but it was also one in which Mersey Care made great strides in demonstrating our innovation and determination to improve standards of care on the journey towards Perfect Care.

It has been a busy start for many of us, myself included, with a visit by Jane Cummings, the Chief Nursing Officer of England, to Clock View earlier today. I sat down with Jane alongside Ray Walker, our Director of Nursing and Elaine Darbyshire, our Executive Director of Communications and Governance.  and discussed the importance of quality nursing in mental health and learning disabilities, retaining a focus on quality and outcome and also talked about our work with Calderstones Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.


It is always good to start a new year on a positive note and I am delighted to able to share with you all that Dr Julie Carlisle, a clinical psychologist based at Scott Clinic, has won the prestigious Butler Trust award.

Julie, or Jules as she is widely known, won the award jointly with Sarah Kane, a Probation Officer based in Merseyside for the National Probation Service, for their role in developing a new project, the Psychologically Informed Consultation Service (PICS), which works to help people with personality disorders. Their achievement is all the more impressive because the Butler Trust received over 300 nominations this year and the Trustees granted only 10 awards and 20 commendations in total.

This work is a brilliant example of putting our Trust values into practice. We talk a lot about partnerships and this truly reflects that with the probation service working alongside Clinical Psychologists at Mersey Care to develop the Offender Personality Disorder Pathway. The importance of this work is underlined by a recent article I was reading where it was claimed that the majority of the prison population would meet the criteria for personality disorder without ever receiving any specialist assessment or intervention.

On a personal level I am always pleased when teams and staff win awards. It helps recharge people’s batteries but, it is an equally important way that we, as a Trust, challenge the stigma surrounding mental health. I also spoke to Frank McGuire, the Psychologically Informed Consultation Service Team Lead, this week and he was delighted at Julie’s achievement. “We’re all immensely proud of the recognition both have received,” he said. “It’s a great advertisement for our partnership approach and is one of a range of services and innovation we have developed.”


Those of you who follow the news will know that following unsuccessful talks between the British Medical Association (BMA) and the NHS on a national level regarding contract negotiations for junior doctors, several days of industrial action have been confirmed.

The dates of the industrial action are on Tuesday (12 January), 26-28 January and 10 February. Although this is a national dispute, it will obviously affect the Trust and we are working in conjunction with clinical services, medical representatives and the BMA to ensure our standards of care continue as normal. Further information can be provided by your managers but we are working hard to ensure this industrial action has little effect on those we care for and serve.

Big Brew

If any of you can think back to this time last year, you will remember how Mersey Care were very much in the news with our Big Brew campaign and the launch of our aim for a zero suicide policy.

This year’s Big Brew campaign will be launched on ‘Blue Monday’ (18 January 2016) – traditionally the third Monday of the year when people will feel the most down – and aims to support Mersey Care’s move to eliminate suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.

Talking has such a vital role to play in reaching out to someone who is maybe suffering. The thing is people don’t know what to say when it comes to talking to someone about mental health issues - that’s where Big Brew can help.

Please go to Mersey Care’s website, download a pack and please show your support – you can do that in the time it takes to boil a kettle!

Walton Library

There was some very encouraging coverage of our Life rooms Walton project, our restoration of the former Walton Library, in the Liverpool Echo this week. Those of you who haven’t seen it yet can see the coverage here. I think we often regard the NHS as a service provider but I believe one of its main strengths is that it creates social cohesion by working alongside the community we serve.

This project is a prime example of this with Mersey Care developing its partnership with local authority colleagues to develop community cohesion. Returning the historic Walton Library to a building renowned for its innovative design while also retaining its library features has been a great achievement for all concerned. Mersey Care will use it as a base for a range of life opportunities for service users and carers and services to the wider community in a way that challenges stigma and promotes positive mental health and wellbeing.

And finally…

Some of you may have seen a picture of party-goers on the streets of Manchester taken on New Year’s Eve, which has already attracted plenty of media coverage and been called “picture of the year.” You can see the picture here, but the photographer, Joel Goodman, also contributes to our own Mersey Care’s magazine. You can see more examples of his work here.