IN Mind: CQC inspections and major mental health news dominate the latest blog from Chief Executive Joe Rafferty

CQC Update

I know many of you will believe the inspections from officials at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) seem to have been endless, asking you all to either attend interviews or prepare for possible inspections. There have been core service inspection visits on wards or to clinical teams, but these are now at an end. There are two focus groups remaining and then there will be the well led interviews with directors and senior leaders that will take place between 18 and 20 December.

I’d like to thank everyone that has been involved in this review process. Inspections of services can, by their very nature, be daunting but they’re also an opportunity to show outsiders all the good work we do. I know colleagues across the divisions have been part of this, from Secure Services Division to Specialist Learning Disability Services Division to Local Services Division, Community Services Division and corporate services, and you should all be proud of your efforts.


It’s a little early to gauge how the CQC will judge us but having visited a fair proportion of our estate, I know our staff are friendly, knowledgeable and experts in their field which I’m sure will be reflected in their findings.

We do have some feedback from a recently published CQC report into the review of health services for children looked after and safeguarding in Sefton as one of several organisations in the area providing these services.

Mersey Care has already responded to the several minor recommendations addressed to us in the report as part of a joint action plan, led by Sefton CCG. We had already met as a partnership prior to publication and we are fully involved in implementing the system-wide improvements and recommendations.


Flu Latest

Last week I reported that over 3000 staff at Mersey Care had protected their patients, families and themselves by having the flu jab. This figure has slowly risen over the past week including the 570 non-frontline staff who have also had the vaccine. Thank you to everyone who has said “yes”.

Currently 59.22% (3133) of frontline staff have been vaccinated however the national target for all NHS trusts is to have 75% of their frontline staff vaccinated so we still have a way to go. Another 834 staff still require the vaccine so that we can be fully assured that our ‘staffing community’ is protected.

We’ve a new video with reminders from colleagues across the Trust as to why protecting patients is essential.


Mental Health News

It’s been an interesting week for everyone involved in mental health, with the publication of an important report into the link between financial difficulties and suicide by the Money and Mental Health Institute (MMHI).

The MMHI was formed by Martin Lewis, the personal finance expert, and is supported by an advisory board that includes a number of academics, people from industry and Luciana Berger MP, who we know is a big campaigner for mental health issues.

We know from our own research that financial issues often have a huge impact on mental health and that is reflected in this report’s findings. Some of the staggering statistics include the fact that:

  • people in problem debt are three times as likely to have thought about suicide in the last year
  • nearly a quarter of people (23%) of people who attempted suicide last year were in problem debt.

At Mersey Care we've done plenty of work into debt management, most notably at the Life Rooms, who run an employment and enterprise hub to try to get service users back to work in addition to advice on money and Recovery College courses specifically designed to improve the positive mental health and wellbeing of those who attend.

We also had a major Government announcement at the end of last week from Matt Hancock MP, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who announced extra funding for a number of different health schemes, including improving mental health services in Liverpool.

Here at Mersey Care we have worked extremely hard to make the public pound stretch further. By that I mean we’ve looked at ways we work across our services, in the community, our local services, specialist learning disabilities and secure services, to find ways of operating more efficiently. That could be anything from different ways of working, to improved technology or sharing best practice – we’re happy to look at anything that can improve the standards of our care.

That said, any investment of funds is going to help us provide better services in our region. We wait to see what the extra funding will mean and I will, of course, update you once we know more about how it will affect Mersey Care.

We also enjoyed a positive two-day visit from Kathryn Turner, the Clinical Director of Mental Health and Specialist Services, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service in Australia, earlier this week.

Kathryn has been a leading campaigner for suicide prevention down under and both toured our services and met up with our staff to talk about Mersey Care’s zero suicide policy and to find out more about the Zero Suicide Alliance.

Thank you.

Joe Rafferty

Chief Executive