Part of my job as Chief Executive of Mersey Care NHS Trust is to meet people from other health organisations and it is always nice to hear compliments about the work we are doing.
Only this week I received a lot of positive comments about how we’ve made ourselves a real integrator in the healthcare system, through our work with GPs, with social care, with housing and employment. We know from experience that it’s likely someone who is having problems with mental health will not have issues with just one of those things but a combination of factors that contributes to their health and wellbeing. We haven't done this work under the umbrella of vanguards or other 'trendy' models. Rather, we have committed to building high functioning relationships built on trust and focusing hard on the outcome people most value.
I have been thinking about this a lot and I suppose the next step on our journey is to think about how we take our integrator role one step further? GPs are now organising themselves differently into federations and through our conversations with them we have already started to think about producing several programmes of work together that we believe can really benefit people.
We hope that if you’re with a GP or in our services with a mental health issue you should get a much more standardised offer of care and there would be more alertness to ensure that mental health issues are dealt with swiftly and effectively. That’s all because of our new relationship with the GP Federation that I hope will flourish over the longer term.
I have previously referred to Mersey Care’s developing reputation as an innovative organisation and we are fast becoming an authority in how we approach our work in social care. Mersey Care was used as a leading case study in a new report, which is the most comprehensive study of the subject to date and examines the integration of mental health and social care in the United Kingdom.
This is all down to the work of Emad Lilo, Mersey Care’s Social Care Professional Lead, and the rest of the team that have worked so well to integrate social care into our practices.
The report’s conclusion found that “Mersey Care has a model which can be seen as the best possible arrangement and which could be offered to other trusts and local authorities,” while Lyn Romeo, the Chief Social Worker for adults in England at the Department Of Health, was also extremely complimentary in her latest annual report.
She said: “Mersey Care Trust has developed an innovative development plan with service users at the heart of mental health services. Social work and social work practice is making a significant contribution to these developments and it is heartening to see the way in which the value base of social work and social care is helping to shape the culture of integrated mental health service provision
“Emad Lilo, has also led an important piece of research on mental health integration which will assist in informing future developments. The development of the Centre for Perfect Care and Wellbeing has also increased service user involvement and is leading to more innovative approaches to delivering better outcomes for the people using their services, including co-producing a model of care for depression."
You can see the latest presentation on our work in co-production here, which is now to be used nationally as a training tool. I think an important area of our work is that we no longer think of mental health social workers as just something that comes out of the local authority, but it is something that we have invested in ourselves.
The impact that our cultural partnerships have on the experience, health and wellbeing of service users, carers and staff is enormous thanks to the added value of experts in music, football and sport, literature and much more coming to our inpatient and community settings.
Given their contribution to our services, it was great to hear that our programme of dance and movement sessions was spotlighted on BBC Radio Merseyside on Tuesday. Presenter Sean Styles took part in a session at Clock View Hospital, which was led by a professional dancer from Movema and Sean was joined by a number of staff and service users.
As you will know, Mersey Care has ambitions to build two further hospitals like Clock View in different parts of Liverpool and Merseyside. We have a preferred option for a new hospital in Liverpool and, following a further design and schedule of accommodation workshop last week, the aim is to incorporate 100 beds across five wards.
This project is one of our major efforts to enhance inpatient care and parity of esteem for our service users by providing single en-suite bedrooms in a modern hospital that will be a great working environment for staff. We are continuing working with local authorities to try and convert our proposals into designs and plans we can share with staff and other stakeholders. I will, of course, keep you updated as soon as I am able.
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