In mind: Joe Rafferty's latest update on Mersey Care

Zero Culture

Over the last few years Mersey Care has often talked about a zero based approach, for instance our zero suicide policy, which is regarded a bit like the sacred cow of mental health services. It is a target we believe is within our reach even if there are those who admire our intentions but doubt our chances of success.

If we are to genuinely embrace the zero based approach, though, we also need to adopt a zero blame culture. We will look at every incident, investigate and look at areas where we can improve, but only by adopting zero blame will we start to think and act differently. To achieve that we need to invest in high context learning, drifting between human error, management of risk which is something we do every day, and redress behaviour. This is what we are thinking about for our ‘Centre for Perfect Care’ and I will provide more information on this in the months ahead.

Mock Inquests

As part of our ‘Perfect Care’ mantra, we need to make sure our recording of information is done in such a way that it would withstand a robust inspection of our methods. For that reason, mock inquest sessions were held this week for trainee doctors and frontline staff in association with legal firm Mills and Reeve and Insurance experts Lockton.

The sessions were based around what to expect at an inquest, but as part of our commitment to ‘Perfect Care’ it was also important to draw attention to the importance of good record keeping, good notes ready to pass on to the next clinician caring for the patient, the importance of patient confidentiality and to be open and transparent in what we do.

Importantly, those who attended will have developed a greater understanding of the Coronial process and what to expect if called to attend and the legal framework of the process and the Trust’s responsibility. Importantly, the sessions will have given our staff a better understanding of why all those things are important so no one representing the Trust ever has to give evidence at an inquest without all the facts at their disposal.

I was particularly impressed with the feedback we received from those attending. Everyone rated it as good to excellent while 94% of those who attended felt better prepared for the inquest process. One response stood out, which said: “it was one of the best training events I have attended in 31 years of nursing.”

Whalley Service

This weekend, the Chairman and I will be at Whalley. The Royal British Legion hold a remembrance event and wreath laying ceremony to commemorate the role the hospital played in supporting wounded military personnel in two world wars. 

Along with veterans and dignitaries, we’ll hold a Silence on Saturday morning at 11.00am. Please spare us – and those who fought and suffered in conflict – a thought and when it comes to the national event at the 11th hour of the 11th day, I would ask you again to mark that moment in an appropriate way when you can.

Ambition Sefton

It was great to be part of Ambition Sefton’s Welcome event this week, talking about the Trust, how the transfer to us as a new provider worked for staff and taking some detailed questions. I hope they now truly feel part of the Mersey Care family and a valuable addition to the work of the NHS.

And finally

As part of a great effort from estates and facilities staff, 20 tonnes of rock and soil were removed to improve access to Bank End Barn, which is on the banks of the River Calder in Whalley, on the edge of our site there. It’s a tranquil, relaxing restored stone building we own and use for conferences, service user activities and even once lent out for a wedding reception. This week it was being prepared for a retreat event and the staff’s efforts in ensuring the barn was ready went above and beyond – thank you and well done.