In Mind: The latest blog from Chief Executive Joe Rafferty provides updates on Mersey Care's mental health and community services

CQC update

I promised to keep everyone updated about the schedule for the next planned inspections of our services by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). We now know CQC colleagues are expected on our sites around mid-April. I know we no longer think about CQC inspections as ‘something to prepare for’ because quality and safety are everyday basics that form the core of our approach to continuous assessment. Nevertheless, I thought it would be useful to let you know roughly when to expect inspectors on site.

Many colleagues at Mersey Care will have been through all this many times before and I’ve been particularly pleased in recent years that we’ve approached each inspection proudly wanting to give information about the work we do rather than get all nervous about the process. This is also exactly the approach to take this year.

It’s important to understand the inspectors will ask for evidence of the great work you do; it’s not enough to know we do outstanding work, we need to be able to show documented evidence of what we do. If you think you’ve really made improvements in the last year/few months that you would like to showcase then make sure you have the evidence to hand.

This is a great opportunity to share what we do well to the outside world. When you work at an organisation that embraces innovation and looks at different ways to raise the standards of healthcare, it’s easy to take those things for granted. This is our chance to tell our story of what makes Mersey Care so effective.

One of the big things we’ve learned during the inspections of recent years is that it’s crucial to make sure our basics are right. They are the tasks that are the foundations of how we go about caring for our patients, service users and carers and it’s important everyone checks their core functions. Posters and updated materials are in the pipeline, but this may be a good time to refresh yourself on the Trust’s core values.

News from the Secure and Specialist Learning Disability Division

Some of you may know that Des Johnson is due to retire as Chief Operating Officer of the Secure and Specialist LD Division later this year. He will be succeeded by Steve Newton.

Steve will take over in the post on 1 April prior to Des’ retirement the following month and I’d like to congratulate both on their future change of roles. The appointment of Steve is a testament to the opportunities available within the NHS given that he began working for Ashworth Hospital in 1988.

Importantly, he has experience of working in both mental health and learning disabilities, which will be invaluable in his new role. Other than a short spell at Broadmoor Hospital as deputy to the Director of Security to broaden his skills and experience, he has worked at Ashworth Hospital ever since his first post as a nursing assistant.

Rowan View update

I’m pleased to inform you the Rowan View staff consultation is now complete. We’ve spoken to over 600 colleagues about their future plans and are now looking at the next steps. There’s lots of activity as we analyse the data and we are also working closely with staff side.

Rowan View really demonstrates how two divisions come together as it will support both mental health and learning disabilities. This in itself creates a new culture and offers new opportunities for aligned procedures that take the best practice from Scott Clinic and Whalley but looks beyond that for what is best for the new site.

This includes agreeing shift times and the details of staff facilities, breaks, the café and all the issues we know are important for staff wellbeing. Recruitment continues and we’re doing some advertising at the moment. 2020 is the year when we are able to really show off the innovation and professionalism of our care for service users in a stunning environment, using light, nature and poetry. We’re focused on great care and thanks to staff for engaging with us during this busy time.

Integrated Care Teams and Primary Care Network update

As you know there’s a real focus on the development of integrated care teams within the NHS at present and that includes here at Mersey Care. For those who don’t understand what that means, it’s a team with a broad range of specialists who all have input into a patient’s care with a holistic approach. I know that sounds simple, even obvious, but it’s surprising how much care can be fragmented and the extent to which that can lead to poor outcomes and experience for patients and their carers.

We’re continuing to develop our integrated care teams, working on improving the quality of life and wellbeing for patients with a focus on prevention and proactive care, thereby reducing demand on crisis and urgent care and promoting choice and independence.

Research shows that effective teams and those that enjoy working alongside each other have some similar characteristics. These include clear vision and purpose, commitment to working towards an agreed set of values and behaviours and interdependent working to achieve their objectives.

With those principles in mind, integrated care teams connected to their Primary Care Networks have attended workshops aiming to give team members the opportunity to determine and agree the purpose for their place. They’ve also looked at operating principles for their work together, the health, social and wellbeing priorities of their local area, together with the identification of development support which would be beneficial to the team.

The intelligence from the workshops combined with population health data will form the basis of prioritised, robust action plans for the next 12 months that will guide the focus of the ICTs and ensure measureable outcomes for local populations. The three priority patient cohorts which the ICTs will focus on across the system are children and families, complex lives and frailty/dementia.

Pictured above: Pat Mcguinness, Deputy Director of Integration

A questionnaire has been co-produced and developed with key stakeholders to establish a baseline for the teams as a measure to monitor the impact and benefits of working in an integrated way which will be reviewed every six months. From April a wider membership of partners from across the health, social care, education and voluntary sectors will be connected to the Primary Care Networks, establishing ‘Team 100’ to further develop the integrated care model of working.

My thanks to Pat Mcguiness and Dr Pete Chamberlain who have worked so hard on a maturity model for the ICTs, which will stand them in good stead as we move into the next period of implementation.

And finally…

I had a visit to central Liverpool this week to be interviewed by Mick Coyle for his ‘Mental Health Monday’ programme on Radio City Talk on Friday. We covered a number of subjects, from the importance of the core work Mersey Care carries out, the ZSA, Life Rooms through to my thoughts on mental health in Merseyside and beyond. You can catch the interview as a podcast.