Joe Rafferty's update: Win win

Friday, 8 April 2016


Physical and mental health integration


Those of you who have worked at Mersey Care for any length of time will know this Trust has developed a good working relationship with Norman Lamb MP, the former Minister of State for Community and Social Care. 

He is particularly passionate about integration between physical and mental health and delivered an important speech recently about it to the Kings Fund.


You can see a full transcript of the speech here but he accurately sums up the situation according to the latest data and the disparity between physical and mental health. “My two passions in healthcare are integrated care and the pursuit of equality for people who suffer from mental ill health and on both of those causes I think we have a very, very long way to go,” he said.


 “It is, I think, a remarkable achievement of our system that we manage spectacularly to neglect the physical health needs of people who have severe and enduring mental ill health, but we also spectacularly manage to neglect the mental health needs of people with physical health problems.”


In my view one of the big dangers of integration is that people get to the point of declaring victory just because everyone sits together. There’s no question that the more professionals are offered the opportunity to be in a place where they can engage easily in inter-professional relationships, the better the deal for patients, but it has to be something more than that.


It also has to be a real desire to think about the models of care that are relevant to what people want to experience and extend well beyond making it more convenient for professionals. Without collaboration at the heart of co-production then we are all limited to the extent of our own personal or organisational abilities. This doesn't best serve patients, carers and families, which must always be our principle aim.


Ashworth Updates


Earlier this week colleagues at Ashworth welcomed inspectors from the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT). CPT organises visits to places of detention, in order to assess how those deprived of their liberty are treated; they have unlimited access to places of detention, and the right to move inside such places without restriction. Their unannounced visit was undertaken with the aim of inspecting and reporting on our practices.


The delegation from CPT said that they were pleased with how they were received and reported no examples of ill treatment. They were also pleased with how we have reduced long term segregation and encouraged us to continue working in this area to reduce the time spent in segregation even further. Their full report into the care we provide at Ashworth may not be published for some months but I think that it’s fair to say from initial indications that we can be cautiously optimistic in expecting positive feedback. Well done to all concerned.


Win, Win

It’s heartening to learn about the efforts that patients at Ashworth are making to support local food banks. Using the patients’ shop they have so far collected and donated five large boxes of food.

The shop staff has asked me to spread the word and to express their (and our) thanks to the patients concerned.  It’s an act of kindness that’s worthy of note and I’m told that patients involved were grateful for the opportunity to give something back to those in need.

Many of us will be aware of the work being undertaken across the trust to challenge the stigma that is all too often associated with mental health; and  as part of this activity I am pleased to highlight some of the fine work being undertaken at Ashworth.


Good at Goodison


Many of you will know that we run a number of initiatives in conjunction Everton in the Community and this week the Shadow Minister for Mental Health Luciana Berger MP visited Goodison this week to learn more about the club’s many commitments to mental health. Everton’s Deputy CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale praised Mersey Care’s partnership, a relationship that enabled Everton to become the first Premiership Club in the country to appoint a mental health programme co-ordinator.



Joe Rafferty

Chief Executive


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