In Mind: Thank You

We are almost at the end of the week’s official inspection from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and I’d like to start this week’s blog by thanking you all for your help over the last few days and in the months leading up to it.

I know most of you are working very hard already, so to put in extra time and effort to tell the inspectors about your stories or the extraordinary things many of you do, was really impressive once again.

As always, unannounced inspections occur more frequently after a big inspection, so there is every chance the CQC will call if you have not had a visit already. Remember it is all about telling them what you do, showing off our high standards of care and innovation and everything that makes us all proud to be part of Mersey Care. Although the inspectors have collated most of their information this week, they may continue to visit our services in the coming weeks so just be aware if they visit their team and department.

From what I have heard about the CQC visits so far, they were challenging but fair. They seemed very keen to find out as much information as possible so they can make a comprehensive appraisal of our services. We don’t expect to hear how we’ve done for a couple of months yet, but any feedback we receive will be communicated to you all as soon as possible.

Once again, thank you all for going the extra mile over the last few weeks. Shouting about our achievements and innovations may not come naturally, but it’s important to the organisation to receive as good a CQC rating as possible and it is only through all your efforts that we’re going to achieve that.


As a Trust we put great emphasis on listening to our staff through mega conversation events, the staff survey and roadshows. One of the recurring themes of those events is your desire to have better training and learning structures.

Many of you have talked about the value of the apprenticeship-type model, which we have reacted to by successfully gaining approval to join the Register of Approved Training Providers as a main apprenticeship provider in the first round of Government approval. This is a huge achievement as 25 per cent of applicants didn’t get through on this first round and only seven NHS trusts in the North West gained approval. Mersey Care was also only one of two main NHS providers approved for delivery to external learners.                                                                              

The register of apprenticeship training providers (RoATP) is a list of organisations that have demonstrated the capability to deliver apprenticeship training and only those organisations that successfully enter the RoATP are eligible to deliver apprenticeship training from May 2017. This means so much internally and externally for our vocational delivery and provision. We’re on track within our new model of vocational learning and we will continue to invest in the skills of our workforce through apprenticeship provision.

Apprenticeships provide routes into a variety of careers in the NHS and are an excellent opportunity to earn, gain work experience and achieve nationally recognised qualifications at the same time. The new model of apprenticeship provision focuses on the progression routes from traineeships to higher and degree apprenticeships. It offers us the opportunity to develop our future workforce, sharing our knowledge and experience of what works well in our locality.

As a main provider of apprenticeship provision Mersey Care is in a fantastic position to promote our work and provide excellent apprenticeship learning and development programs for learners. The standard and quality of apprenticeships we offer creates a benchmark throughout our region, and can ensure that apprenticeship pathways are viewed as a viable and attractive alternative to traditional education paths.

Southport plans

I have written before about our plans to upgrade our estates to state of the art facilities, so our patients, service users, carers and staff have the best possible environment to recover and go about their daily duties. We have plans to build a new hospital on the site of the current Mossley Hill Hospital, while we are currently renovating a new Life Rooms in Southport.


We also want to build a new mental health hospital in Southport. The next stage of those plans has now been reached with our proposals having been submitted for formal planning permission. Sefton Council are currently examining the application and we should have a decision by the end of May. Monies have been approved to ensure this crucial process is supported.

While Sefton Council consider our planning application, we will be putting together a Full Business Case, which includes everything about the hospital, including its finance and sustainability. This will be sent to an operational board and then Mersey Care’s Board of Directors, probably by the end of May.

Jean Atkinson

Many of you will have worked alongside and known Jean Atkinson very well, who was staff chair for UNISON at this organisation for many years. I’m delighted to inform you that the local branch of UNISON, in conjunction with their regional and national offices and the Cavell Nurse Trust, have decided to name a national award after her in recognition of her years of service.

It will be known as ‘The Jean Atkinson MBE Award for Outstanding Healthcare Assistant’ and will be presented as part of the Qualified Nurse Awards at a prestigious ceremony in London in June this year. Those of you who wish to nominate someone for the award can find out more information here, and the closing date is 21 April.

And finally

I’d like to offer my congratulations to those involved with being shortlisted in two categories for this year’s Patient Safety Awards. No Force First has been shortlisted in the mental health category and the HOPE(S) clinical model of care to reduce long term segregation in secure settings has also been shortlisted in the changing culture

Joe Rafferty

Chief Executive