In Mind: Mersey Care's success is based on teamwork, says Executive Director Elaine Darbyshire

This is the last of the ‘guest blog’ series whilst Joe is away on his holiday. I couldn’t decide whether Joe was saving the best till last when he asked me to write this or whether he had just run out of people to do it - either way it’s an honour to be able to hopefully entertain, maybe inform and possibly even support you in your work for Mersey Care this week.

I thought that I would use this blog to talk to you about the value of teamwork today. I know that we talk about the value of great teams a lot at Mersey Care and I know that the work that Amanda Oates has so brilliantly led on Just and Learning Culture with Mandi Gregory and all of our staff-side colleagues will make this even more successful for us in the future.

Indeed, as I have recently taken up responsibility as the new Executive lead for our Freedom to Speak up Guardian, I am fully aware that some Mersey Care colleagues aren’t yet convinced that we currently work in a truly just culture.

We therefore want to ensure every one of our 8,000 colleagues along with our service users understand and feel a true part of our Just and Learning principles. So, alongside our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian Bernie Rochford, our HR team, our fantastic Just and Learning Ambassadors and our staff side, patient safety and Centre for Perfect Care colleagues, we are now developing plans to introduce a ‘pause’ process (yet to be defined) for colleagues who feel things in work are not going as they had hoped.

That being said, we continue to deliver very busy services at Mersey Care each and every day across the whole of Merseyside and of course in SPLD in Whalley. The fact that out on the front line you are delivering fantastic treatment, care and support to our thousands of services users and patients every single hour of every single day is an absolute credit to you all.

When you add in the preparation for our forthcoming CQC inspection and the demands that this can create, we know only too well that it might feel like it requires a superhuman effort to keep everything moving in the right direction.


This is where I think that really great teams come in. I’m very lucky to work with all the great people in the teams within my directorate: the communications team under Steve Murphy; the Life Rooms team under Michael Crilly; commercial development under Ann Hanlon; estates under Michelle McGee (who returns from maternity leave after the birth of her beautiful daughter next week); the governance team under Andy Meadows and the Capital Business team under Jo Worswick.

The importance of teamwork was underlined only this week when the BBC’s excellent programme called ‘stopping male suicide’ was broadcast on BBC2.. Those of you on social media will be aware that it had a real impact on many people and we have added 740 followers to the Zero Suicide Alliance twitter account in just six days, while over 1,000 people have completed the free suicide prevention training during the same period.

Can I urge everyone who hasn’t seen the programme yet to have a look and urge your friends and colleagues to take 20 minutes out of their day to do the training, which you can access here, while you can see the BBC programme here.

I know that working with really great people is the key to all of our successes and that in the words of Michael Jordan ‘Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.’ We couldn’t do our jobs if we didn’t have fantastic teams around us and I know this is true in the good times but is especially true when the going gets tough. It is only be harnessing that resilience that we are able to look forward to our new state of the art mental health hospital in Southport. This is now starting to take shape and there is a short video giving an update on the project below.

There were also times in the past two years when we have worked our way through the eye-watering approvals process for the new MSU in Maghull that it would have been very easy to throw in the towel and accept a lesser outcome. But, through a process of great teamwork, a shared vision of success (and sometimes some pure stubbornness!) we got there and I’m absolutely sure the results you will see over the next couple of years will be spectacular. You can see a short film of how the project is progressing below.

It’s only through great teamwork that we can grow, develop and support each other to be the best we all can be. So thank you from all the exec team for your continuing hard work, dedication and expert care and let’s continue to show the world what we’re made of together as Team Mersey Care!


Elaine Darbyshire