Chief Executive's Blog






Friday, 8 May 2015


Time of Change


Anyone who has watched the news or read the newspapers in the last few days will realise there is a sense of new beginnings in the air. We have just had a General Election and a new government will be formed in the coming days, while many of the media outlets have marked the 70th anniversary of VE Day today.


Although the two events are 70 years apart, they are linked in that they represent a fresh start for many people. We all know the sacrifices made by the 60 million people who died during the Second World War and I am sure VE Day represents mixed emotions for many. Back then, as now, there was a real determination to keep going and continue working or ‘Keep Calm And Carry On,’ to quote a common phrase from that era.


Here at Mersey Care we will keep working to maintain a dialogue with the new Government and will continue to lead the campaign for those we care for to ensure mental health remains on the national agenda.


Working with veterans


It remains an important part of our focus here at Mersey Care to work with our service users to ensure we provide the best possible care, facilities and environment so we can set them on course for recovery.


We listened to our service users during the design of our new Clock View hospital, which is the base for our Post Traumatic Stress Disorder service that is now open. We spoke to veterans who told us our services were not good enough and we have reacted.  This is another example of just how effective our approach to working with Experts by Experience (and for me that most definitely included carers) is the very best way to improve what we do, all day every day.


We have seen the impact before in No Force First, the design of Street Cars, the blossoming of the philosophy of recover in every corner of the Trust and the growth of the Recovery College. We need to do more of this, which is one of the reasons I have been keen to develop the Mersey Care Users and Carers Assembly as a really expert group that will always help us continuously improve our services.


Ban the Bling


The majority of our staff are fully aware of the importance of infection control and the steps we need to ensure we do everything possible to keep our services infection-free. Those of us who do not work on the wards regularly, though, may need reminding of what is required to keep staff and service users free from infections.


Hand washing is the single most important procedure for preventing healthcare associated infections. Rings, watches and bracelets have also been shown to decrease the effectiveness of hand washing, so we are asking staff to enter wards with a minimum of jewellery below the elbow. The control of infection is always a top priority and I would urge you to consistently evaluate your own performance in this area.


There is also the question of personal safety for staff and we would urge everyone to think about their choices of earrings and ties – if items can be pulled or ripped they are hazards that should be prevented. You can read all about our clinical guidelines here.


Mental Health Awareness Week


As part of our commitment to stopping the stigma surrounding mental health, Mersey Care will be actively supporting Mental Health Awareness Week, which starts on Monday. There will be plenty of activity on social media for you all to support. It is important we get involved in events like this and


I know that many of you will be carrying out activities on your wards and in your teams - don’t forget to send communications your pictures via and we will Tweet pictures – as appropriate – from our @mersey_care account.


International Nurse’s Day


Another notable milestone next week is International Nurse’s Day next Tuesday, which celebrates the tremendous dedication and expertise of nurses and the valuable contribution they make to our Trust. The nursing workforce includes health care support workers, assistant practitioners and apprentices and is the largest element of our workforce and often the first contact for people who use our services.


As such they have the power and potential to influence how healthcare is provided and improve the experience of service users, their families and carers and International Nurses Day is a chance for the rest of the world to highlight their contribution to our services.


We are also launching our Three-Year Nursing Plan on 26 June at our Celebrating Nursing Conference, which will reflect our strategic aims. It follows the Your Voice, Your Change Nurses Consultation, which provided an opportunity for the nursing workforce to come together and discuss the importance and value of their unique contribution to care and identify ways we can improve the nursing experience within the Trust.


I am also pleased that we have made progress in appointing a lead psychologist and a lead Allied Healthcare Professional (AHP) lead for the whole of the trust. I am keen that we move rapidly to finalise our respective Psychology and AHP Plans and look forward to similar ‘Celebrating’ events.


Mental Health Taskforce

I would also like to encourage you all to take part in a new survey from the Mental Health Taskforce. They are developing a five-year national strategy for mental health, covering all ages, which will be aligned with NHS England’s Five Year Forward View for the whole NHS. This is a significant moment for mental health services – please allow the Task Force to hear your voice by completing the survey here


Joe Rafferty

Chief Executive