In Mind: The latest blog from Chief Executive Joe Rafferty that discusses Rowan View, Zero Suicide and Flu

Rowan View

Just 20 months ago I stood on a roundabout at the centre of the Maghull Health Park. This week, in the same place, I was able to walk around a state of the art, purpose built facility called Rowan View, the Trust’s new mental health and learning disability medium secure hospital.

I’m really proud of what’s been achieved there. The change this new hospital will make to the quality of life of people who use our services will be profound. It’s a place where the environment has been designed not for service users but actually by them.

It has beautiful curved walls, because people said they didn’t really want straight lines and with choices of colours that have engaged people. It’s coming together as a place where therapy can take place in a positive, welcoming location – this is good for staff as well as for our service users.

While this is a secure facility for our service users, we also want to make life as normal as possible with a beautiful café, open spaces and immersive therapies using the latest technologies. Rowan View really shows our understanding that therapy is about the whole environment, giving people a chance to live their life to the full. It’s about respecting them and their dignity and doing absolutely everything we can during their time with us to support the whole person. 

It’s just great to see this programme come to life and I’d encourage those who will be working in medium secure services in the months ahead to come along, like we did this week, to see the site for yourselves.

Winter demand

As you’ll be aware Mersey Care is committed to supporting the wider health and social care system to plan and deliver services that help manage the extra pressures experienced throughout the winter period.

It’s been another extra busy month in community services. In November our children’s walk-in-centre saw a significant increase in demand and treated 11 per cent more patients than last year. There’s also been an outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting in schools and care homes, which is often caused by Norovirus, a frequent cause of illness in the community during the winter.

These types of bugs can be really unpleasant but the NHS has released a really good video of hints and tips that you can watch below.

As a Trust we’ve introduced a series of initiatives within our Community Services Division to reduce the number of avoidable A&E admissions and support timely discharge from hospital. These include the expansion of the D-Dimer/DVT testing service with an additional clinic at South Liverpool Treatment Centre and weekend support for older people’s care homes via the community matrons. ICRAS is also continuing to provide urgent treatment and care to patients who are at risk of imminent hospital admission as well as those transitioning back to their home from an acute environment and who still need support.

Remember we all have a part to play in reducing pressures on the urgent care system at this time of year. This can be as simple as signposting or reminding people to choose the service delivered by the right person, at the right time and in the right place to meet their health needs - A&E should just be for emergencies and life threatening illnesses only.

Zero suicide

The next stage of the Zero Suicide Alliance’s development is to formulate a workforce guide that will help employers identify the signs of someone struggling at work and enable them to intervene and signpost them to services.

As part of that we hosted an informative business workshop in Liverpool last week where businesses from Liverpool and the surrounding areas took part and provided their experiences of managing the health and wellbeing of their colleagues and the challenges that presents. All the information and best practice from within the room was shared and will be collated into a workforce guide, which we hope to publish in the New Year.

The ZSA is also hosting its second Twitter Chat on Tuesday, 10 December, this time focussing on assessment and planning if you think someone is vulnerable to suicide. Everyone is welcome to join in – just log in to Twitter at or before 8pm and search #WeMDT.


 Regular readers of this blog will know that I have written consistently about the importance of everyone having a flu jab to protect: friends, family, work colleagues and patients. I really can’t stress enough how crucial it is to protect yourselves and everyone you come into contact with during the course of our lives.

Here are the thoughts of Jenny Hurst, our Deputy Director of Nursing, who said: “There’s no getting away from this – flu kills.

“Nobody thinks twice about protecting ourselves from other serious diseases like Hepatitis and we should regard flu with the same level of seriousness. It can have serious and even fatal consequences, especially for the most vulnerable patients, such as young children, pregnant women and the elderly.

“Healthcare workers are at an increased risk of contracting flu, but because more than half of infections bring mild or no symptoms, it’s possible for us to have and pass on the virus to patients without us even being aware.

“So for everyone who hasn’t had a flu jab yet, please book in as soon as possible to protect yourselves, patients, family and work colleagues from this deadly disease.”

Joe Rafferty

Chief Executive