Joe Rafferty's update: Social Support

I’d like to start this week’s blog by offering my thanks to work that social workers do in helping with the care of our patients. We work alongside social workers in a large variety of roles across the trust, from the work they do in the community to the valuable role they play in our High Secure Services.


Social care is influential in the sharing of knowledge and skills across disciplines, whilst retaining a clear understanding of roles, allowing us to offer a more holistic approach to care delivery, with social workers often taking the role of care co-ordinators.


I was therefore extremely pleased to hear that this week’s conference to mark World Social Work day was so well attended and well received. Staged at the Lace Conference Centre in Liverpool, social workers gathered from across the North West of England & Ireland to mark the occasion.


World Social Work Day was initiated by the International Federation of Social Workers a number of years ago to mark the contribution of social work to societies across the globe on an annual basis. It’s now a global organisation striving for social justice, human rights and social development through the promotion of social work, best practice models and the facilitation of international co-operation. 


This year they asked social workers all over the world to celebrate the day under the banner of “Promoting the Dignity and Worth of Peoples,” and we had speakers including Pauline Gill, Principal Social Worker at the National Forensic Mental Health Service of Ireland, Iris Benson MBE, Professor Michael Lavalette from Liverpool Hope University and Colin Ashcroft, the Workforce Development Manager at Cheshire West and Chester Council, who all reflected that message.




We have also had some excellent feedback about the event since, praising the “call to action”, while another said it had inspired them in their work “with families, carers and friends in developing services and support in forensic social work.”


Liverpool 2


It’s just over a year since Mersey Care helped transform the view of modern mental health care by opening Clock View Hospital. The £25 million, 80-bed hospital, built on the site of the former Walton Hospital, has won plaudits and awards for its modern design developed in association with service users.


As many of you will know, we have ambitions to build a further two more hospitals like Clock View in different parts of Liverpool and Merseyside. We have a preferred option for another hospital in Liverpool and are working with local authorities to try and convert our proposals into designs and plans that we can share with staff and other stakeholders.


Positive Practice Mental Health Collaborative


I’d like to draw everyone’s attention to the Positive Practice Mental Health Collaborative, which is an organisation committed to sharing best practice in mental health provision covering the whole of the patient journey.


Mersey Care is one of over 50 members that strive to help each other and improve mental health services, while they also host the prestigious ‘Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards.”


Few of us are motivated to work just to win awards, but I am immensely proud of the good practice and innovation demonstrated by this Trust and would like us to enter these awards if any of you believe you have a strong entry. You can access the awards website here which gives a full list of the different categories and if you need help or advice, please email the communications team at


Political Interest


During my time at Mersey Care I have had many conversations with Norman Lamb MP, previously the Care Minister in the coalition government, discussing the issues facing mental healthcare. I met with him again this week as he was eager to get an update on what is happening at Mersey Care and retains an interest in what we do and the best practice we are championing.


By keeping channels of communication open with politicians of all parties, I hope to keep mental health on the national news agenda so we can push for the changes that will put us on an equal footing with physical healthcare.




I have spoken at length about a number of projects that are ongoing which we hope will lead to a brighter future for the Trust. I hope to be in a position to update you with more information about our application to become a Foundation Trust shortly after Easter.


Work also continues with our colleagues over at Calderstones Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and I should also have more news about our proposed acquisition in the coming months. As soon as we received substantial news with either project I will ensure all our staff get to know quickly.


I’d also like to congratulate everyone who worked on the bid to retain the contract with Sefton Council for inpatient detox services, based at the Windsor Clinic and the Kevin White Unit. The new contract will start in July for an initial three years.


And Finally…


Next week is the Easter Bank Holiday and as many of you will not be working, we have decided not to publish your weekly newsletter. Can I wish everyone a happy Easter and please spare a thought for your colleagues who may be working.