In Mind: Chief Executive Joe Rafferty updates on our zero suicide vision and a Ministerial visit

Last week I told you how the Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA) had been shortlisted in the Excellence in Mental Health Care category for the NHS 70 Parliamentary Awards. Once again I’d like to thank Luciana Berger MP, who has been a brave campaigner for mental health, for her support in nominating the ZSA.

 Since the ZSA has been shortlisted for the awards ceremony on 4 July, I have also held constructive discussions with the Public Health Collaborative North West about the ZSA so we can agree a common approach across Cheshire and Merseyside. Some of you will recall that when Mersey Care launched its zero suicide policy in 2015 we did so in association with the Champs network.

Sharing ideals and best practice is one of the main principles that persuaded over 80 different trusts, businesses and individuals to come together at the ZSA’s launch last year in a collaborative committed to fighting suicide in the UK and beyond.

The free training takes only 20 minutes to complete and can be accessed here.


 It has also got me thinking that although we have all come together as an alliance which will attempt to provide a more joined up approach outside the parameters of the NHS, it also mirrors the original ideals envisaged by Health Secretary Aneurin Bevan when the National Health Service was formed in 1948.

 His vision has been refined over the years but the main principles remain the same and form the NHS Constitution. During my time with the NHS there are very few people I’ve met that chose that career without a real desire to help care for the vulnerable, sick and injured.

 I understand that everyone has a busier workload than used to be the case but if you get the chance, please have another look at the NHS’s constitution. The main bullet points are below, but you can see the full document in greater detail here.


 If you look at the main principles of that constitution, it’s also great to think of the ZSA in that way. Every one of those key values is represented in what we are trying to achieve in the alliance, from ensuring those with suicidal thoughts are central to everything we’re trying to achieve to our desire to work in partnership.

We’re determined to share best practice, including our free training tool, and utilising cutting edge digital technology to help identify those at risk better and the times they may be at their most vulnerable.

The ZSA could be one of the most important organisations to emerge from the UK healthcare system since the formation of the NHS. Importantly, both organisations believe the principle of “free at the point of delivery” is central to everything we do.

The free training takes only 20 minutes to complete and can be accessed here.


Mersey Care’s NHS 70 party

You will no doubt have seen plenty of information about the NHS 70 celebrations, not least the Parliamentary Awards. We are also holding our own event to mark such a significant birthday with a fun day at Aintree Racecourse on 7 July.

Anyone is free to attend, particularly families, and the event will run between 10.30am and 2.00pm. Registration is on arrival – come along and let’s mark the NHS 70 celebrations in style.


Ministerial Visit

You’ll all be aware that one of my jobs as Chief Executive is to ensure the problems and challenges we face as an organisation are brought to the attention of those who make decisions about healthcare in this country. Last week a delegation from NHS Improvement visited us to hear our plans for the development of community services in Liverpool and South Sefton.

We also had a visit from Jackie Doyle-Price MP, the Minister for Mental Health and Inequalities, who was shown around Life Rooms Walton and Ashworth Hospital as part of a fact finding visit to the North West. She enjoyed a constructive visit to Life Rooms where Michael Crilly, our Director of Social Inclusion, and Elaine Darbyshire, our Executive Director of Communications, Corporate Governance and Estates, gave her some insight into its role as a community hub, home of the Recovery College and base for our pathway advisors.

Pictured: Jackie Doyle-Price MP (second from left) with volunteers from the Life Rooms and other members of her delegation.

She also travelled to Ashworth, where she was given a tour of one of the wards and given information on how we are developing our restraint reduction. There was also a productive meeting discussing our mental healthcare plans for HMP Liverpool alongside our partners, Spectrum Community Health CIC.

Manchester Anniversary

Many of you will have seen the news this week, which has been dominated by stories from both ends of the happiness spectrum – the Royal Wedding and the anniversary of the Manchester attacks. I’m sure many of you will have enjoyed watching the wedding while the events to mark the terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena that killed 22 people were both uplifting and poignant.

Some of you may have known someone who was caught up in the events of 22 May last year, or may have even have been at the concert, while some of you may have been in Manchester this week for the events to mark the anniversary.


I think we can all agree that some of the images this week will have brought back some bad memories and I’d like to remind you all that we have services to help you should you need it. If you are registered with a Liverpool GP you can access Talk Liverpool and I would strongly recommend looking at our selection of self help guides that offer useful tips and hints.

We should also spare a thought for colleagues and friends that may be working in our Secure, Local, Specialist Learning Disability and Community Services Divisions over the bank holiday weekend.


Continuing the theme of congratulations to all our teams getting recognition, there are two special mentions I would like to make for teams clearly making an impact in their particular fields.

I’d like to firstly highlight the team at Brook Place, the home for our community drug and alcohol teams, after winning the Best Placement award at the John Moores University School of Nursing and Allied Health Student Awards ceremony. It recognises the significant impact that placement areas and teams have on the students' learning experience.

Congratulations should also go to our Finance team for becoming only one of four organisations nationally to achieve the Level 3 accreditation from NHS Future Focussed Finance. This follows their recognition as Level 3 for excellence in Finance Staff Development in the North West.