In Mind: Chief Executive Joe Rafferty discusses a visit by the Health Secretary

Official Visit

I’d like to start this week’s blog by talking about yesterday’s visit to Clock View by the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP. The visit was arranged at very short notice as part of his two-day trip to Merseyside and concentrated on Mersey Care’s patient safety initiatives.

I think his visit is an interesting indication that mental health is high on the Government’s agenda for the NHS and I hope he came away from his time with us with a better understanding of what we are trying to do with initiatives like Zero Suicide, No Force First and the work we have done on segregation in high secure.

The Minister’s focus was very much on safety in mental health and he was incredibly impressed with the Trust’s journey through our safety initiatives to our commitment to improving physical health and wellbeing.

He came away from Clock View impressed with the commitment and innovation of our staff at Mersey Care and the manner in which we have tackled some of the toughest issues in healthcare in general, never mind just in mental health.


The Health Secretary said: “I was enormously impressed by the fantastic facilities at Clock View, which are matched by the team's clear focus on improving patient safety.

"There’s an obvious effort to make the environment comforting and reassuring for patients - staff can be rightly proud to work at this trust, which is an example to other mental health providers across the country."

 The Minister also addressed a selection of staff from across all divisions and talked about his personal journey in relation to patient safety. He also discussed the extent to which the NHS is the most safe and efficient healthcare organisation in the world and explained the focus on mental health was part of a drive to maintain the NHS as a safe and effective health service.

His visit finished by answering questions from staff on finance, workforce and the future direction for mental health services. Following a tour of Dee Ward, he was impressed with the facilities and the commitment of those staff who worked there.


Those of you who haven’t already heard, Mersey Care enjoyed a night to remember at the Positive Practice Mental Health Awards in Blackpool on Thursday night.

We won three awards, with No Force First winning in the Quality Improvement award category, Life Rooms won the Partnership Working award and the Specialist Learning Disability Division (SLD) won the Special Award for their Complete Service Wide Transformation.


That was quite a hat-trick and we followed that by the Life Rooms being specially commended in the Recovery and Co-Production category and SLD being highly commended for education to complete a memorable evening. I think these awards are particularly relevant because they are given by an expert group of partners that make up the Mental Health Collaborative.

Their expertise makes them serious industry-level awards and winning them means a lot because you are being judged by your peers. The judges noted that Mersey Care made many applications for the awards because we are confident in what we do.

 It was a great night attended by around 400 people in Blackpool and I’m delighted to announce that next year Mersey Care will host the event in Liverpool. It’s something we’re really looking forward to doing as a Trust next year, when we look forward to giving all those nominated a friendly Liverpool welcome. 


High Secure

I was delighted to visit Ashworth Hospital this week and meet the staff on Keats ward. As soon as I arrived it was hard not to notice the buzz on the ward and a lot of credit for that must go to Sarah Pilling, the ward manager, for that.

If you ever needed evidence that leadership is important at all levels of the Trust, this was it. Staff were engaged and committed to their roles and that showed in the atmosphere all around the ward.


I was also pleased to be able to present the Cavell Nurses’ Trust Award 2017 to Stephanie Morris, who is the first nursing assistant to receive the Jean Atkinson MBE Award for Outstanding Healthcare Assistant. She beat off competition from all over the country to win the award.