Shadow Minister for Mental Health Luciana Berger has paid a fact-finding visit to Liverpool’s newest mental health hospital.
Luciana Berger, Labour and Co-operative MP for Liverpool Wavertree, met Joe Rafferty, the Chief Executive of Mersey Care NHS Trust that runs the 80-bed Clock View Hospital in Walton.
This is the MP’s first public engagement to a mental health facility since being appointed as Shadow Minister for Mental Health as part of new Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet.
“I was really pleased my first official visit as Shadow Minister was to these fantastic facilities at Clock View here in Liverpool,” she said. “I have visited this hospital before it was fully operational and it is great to see how it is all working and benefitting patients and staff now it is up and running.
“I know Mersey Care’s work is highly regarded here in Liverpool and it has been great to see Clock View, a mental health hospital that is fit for the 21st century, in action. I look forward to continuing to work with Mersey Care to improve the mental health facilities in this country.”
During the visit, the Shadow Minister spoke to Mersey Care staff, volunteers and service users about how the therapeutic environment developed at the £25 million hospital was benefitting patient care and tackling the stigma associated with mental health, six months on from its opening.
All patients at Clock View have single bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms to promote privacy and dignity, comfortable wards with light and airy spaces, access to safe inner courtyard garden areas and activity sessions, as well as an array of artwork that promotes wellbeing.
Luciana Berger was shown the latest addition to Clock View’s art, a statue made of worn copper called Imago – one definition of Imago is to undergo ‘metamorphosis.’ Acclaimed Merseyside artist Tony Evans was commissioned to create the eight-foot high figure, which is sited in an open-air inner courtyard visible to visitors, patients and staff.
During a tour of wards, the Shadow Minister was told about Mersey Care’s award-winning No Force First initiative. It aims to eliminate physical and medication-led restraint on people who are mentally ill, unless absolutely necessary, and recommends a range of less intrusive and more dignified interventions.
“Here at Mersey Care we welcome Luciana’s appointment as Shadow Minister for Mental Health and we are delighted she has chosen us for her first official outing in the role,” said Joe Rafferty.
“We have been able to show her what a modern mental health hospital should look like. We involved service users in its design, consulted with the community at every stage, and now feel we are very much part of the Walton neighbourhood.
“We had some interesting discussions with Luciana throughout her visit and applaud her achievement in becoming the first ever Shadow Minister for Mental Health. We hope to continue working alongside her to battle stigma and continue our battle for parity of esteem with physical health.”