In Mind: A Quality Journey

In the second of a series of guest blogs over the next few weeks, Lee Taylor, Chief Operating Officer of the Specialist Learning Disability Division, reflects on the year since the former Calderstones Trust became part of the Mersey Care family…

The Specialist LD Division is leading on the transformation affecting learning disability services and as Chief Operating Officer here, I’m proud to have a great team of colleagues whose professionalism and care delivery is now officially some of the very best in the NHS. I want to thank staff around the whole Trust for making Specialist LD welcome and a real part of a great organisation over the last 12 months.

I’ll make no apology for using this blog to shout about the division’s recent outstanding CQC result. The entire Trust delivered and the overall result was terrific for Mersey Care. In the face of all the issues affecting Whalley and the national Transforming Care agenda, I was particularly delighted to see the Specialist LD Division’s rating. It reflects a massive amount of hard work and a quality journey over three recent CQC inspections that has been widely recognised as a huge achievement in challenging times.

Our Forensic Support Services are undergoing a revolution and an expansion which rightly uses the team’s skills to their best advantage. They work in the community, currently in Lancashire and Greater Manchester, alongside health and social care services and criminal justice agencies to share specialist forensic skills and knowledge in order to provide appropriate support to prevent vulnerable people entering into secure settings. This work will be expanded to form our new Specialist Support Teams over the coming months and I am delighted that recruitment has commenced for these new services.

The Specialist Learning Disability Division will essentially move into a new offer in line with Transforming Care. This aims to keep the people we serve in their communities: in their homes, not hospitals. When people need a secure bed, they are available, but the lengths of stay will be significantly reduced with a focus on moving back to the community as quickly as possible in our enhanced pathways.

The way Mersey Care organises its entire learning disability services is also evolving. The Specialist Learning Disability Division is currently working closely with the STAR Unit and with the Community LD Teams in Mersey Care to bring together our expertise and enhance the service we offer for people with a learning disability.

Specialist care for people with Learning Disabilities will continue to be at the centre of attention for policy makers, as well as for carers and absolutely for our service users. We are shaping new models of care and there are big opportunities for us, both locally in Lancashire, Manchester, the wider North West and of course at the new MSU at the Maghull Health Park and now more closely with colleagues in Liverpool.

You can read more about activity in the division; from Positive Practice award nominations to service user cycling success, in the Specialist LD blog.

To properly mark our achievements – and meet new friends and partners - we are holding a special day on 19 September. Starting at 1pm the event will be an occasion to listen to service users and staff about what “outstanding” looks like. We will have presentations, some cake, and opportunities for networking with our partners. If you can come to our Whalley site, please do: we want to share and learn together.

Lee Taylor