In Mind: Staff achievements are the main theme of the latest blog from Chief Executive Joe Rafferty

In my role as Chief Executive of this Trust, I spend a lot of time with colleagues from other trusts and sectors of the NHS and they are almost always complimentary about the work we do here at Mersey Care.

 We are widely respected in the healthcare community for our determination to raise care standards and I think we deserve some outside recognition for all the hard work I know you all put in to make this organisation what it is. One of the many things I love about working in the NHS is that most of us started our career in healthcare because we wanted to help care for the vulnerable and the sick and make a difference to them and their families.

Those principles have not changed and our priority remains, and always will be, providing the best possible care for our patients, service users and carers. What I would like, though, is more recognition for all our staff, some of whom continually excel and keep pushing care standards to new levels.

None of us join the NHS for the kudos of winning awards, but we’re all human and we all like a little recognition when we’ve done a good job. I always think awards have a threefold impact on patients and service users, the staff and the teams they work in and the Trust itself, who can only benefit if our initiatives and procedures keep getting awards. In other words, it’s the three R’s that count – reputation, recognition and reflection.

 It’s important to the teams we all work in that we are seen to be doing our jobs effectively for the benefit of our patients. Recognition often gives teams a shot in the arm for all their hard work and also reflects back onto patients and makes them feel good to be cared for by a high performing team. That, in turn also helps the reputation of the Trust and allows us to bid for new contracts to safeguard the future of Mersey Care.

I don’t want this to be seen as award hunting, but I would like 2018 to be the year that Mersey Care gets recognition for its outstanding work. That doesn’t mean applying for all and sundry, but I’m sure if we have a look around we can find suitable categories for submitting entries.

On the subject of awards, can I please congratulate our Only Foals and Horses Sanctuary that won the Service Users’ Choice category at the National Service Users Awards this week. It’s a very important initiative that allows service users to gain confidence by working with rescue horses. Well done to all involved.


Transition of services

It’s now two weeks since we welcomed colleagues from Liverpool community services and HMP Liverpool into Mersey Care. There have been teething problems, as you would probably expect, but overall the feedback has been very positive. We are acutely aware that in both situations there is still plenty to do and a long journey awaits in both cases.

Both staff groups will become more aware of Mersey Care’s values in the weeks ahead while we consider the new structure for the integrated organisation. I’m sure all our new colleagues will have views and opinions and I will give you more details of that in the weeks ahead and the different engagement initiatives available to you all within this Trust.

Many of you will be aware that Liverpool community services has had its problems in the past, the recent Kirkup report was commissioned because whistle blowers approached Rosie Cooper MP, the representative for West Lancashire, who lobbied for a full investigation.


Rosie was given a fact-finding tour of HMP Liverpool last week, which I attended alongside colleagues from Spectrum, who will be providing physical healthcare at the prison. I think she was impressed with the desire to improve facilities and the culture within HMP Liverpool and had constructive talks with the prison governor, Pia Sinha.

I was impressed with the enterprising leadership from Pia and Linda Harris, Spectrum’s Chief Executive, and I’m sure we can all work together on a new model of care that will produce great improvements at HMP Liverpool.

And finally

Many of you will remember the recent visit of Sidney Dekker, the world renowned expert on just and learning culture, to our services. His visit was to continue discussions regarding Mersey Care’s commitment to a Just and Learning Culture, but he also spoke to staff for a film about it all.

The film will be released on Tuesday, but here is a trailer to whet everyone’s appetite for it. Amanda Oates, our Director of Workforce, said: “Working together with colleagues across the Trust and others to introduce a just and learning culture has certainly been one of the proudest accomplishments of my career.

“I hope that others can join me and take pride in being part of an organisation that’s honest about its flaws and vulnerabilities, that’s willing to hold up a mirror to itself and assess how it behaves when things don’t go to plan or as expected. “We’re also a Trust that wants to collaborate with staff so that together we can continue to move away from purely retributive responses towards a restorative, fair and just culture that learns together.”