In Mind: Chief Executive Joe Rafferty talks about No Force First, our Just and Learning Culture and more

No Force First Award

I am proud to share the news of further recognition for our crucial No Force First work. Can I echo the words of the Patient Safety Award judges when they said that Mersey Care have an incredible and powerful story. No Force First continues to be one of the Trust’s priorities as I told colleagues at the AGM. This latest Changing Culture Award is a timely reminder of its value and the peer recognition which it continues to receive. It is the sixth major award in four years for No Force First including Health Service Journal and Nursing Times awards. The team have worked hard to continue to deliver this essential work, alongside several experts by experience and the Centre for Perfect Care. It is a philosophy I’ve endorsed and shared widely as best practice and the judges tell us that they hope this award will help sustain the team’s amazing progress. My congratulations to them.


Just and Learning

I noted this week that NHS Resolution (formerly the NHS Litigation Authority, who look into appeals, disputes and performance issues), have issued new guidance to embed what they call a learning and just culture to support staff, patients and carers, encouraging learning from incidents and addressing bullying. Sound familiar?


Mersey Care embarked on this journey several years ago and it’s made a real impact for us: fewer staff disciplined, better job satisfaction, and its positive effects noted by our regulators and stakeholders. I am pleased that the value of what we call Just and Learning Culture is being picked up more widely in the NHS.


We’re not anywhere close to saying we’ve finished but I am so pleased we started. You should be able to speak out, feel supported and be respected at work. Everyone should. But because there remain pockets of problems to solve, we need data to do something about it. We want to hear from you: whilst we all should know to be polite and supportive, it’s time now to get evidence to make the changes required.  Tell us – the survey takes five minutes and will change our Trust.


High Reliability Mindset

This journey towards a Just and Learning Culture is linked to something I’ve recently spoken to managers and others about: a high reliability mindset. Jargon?  Perhaps. It may be even something that should go without saying. But I think we should all take a moment to see how we are with this concept. High reliability organisations are those that work in complicated or high-risk areas for extended periods but do so without having serious accidents or catastrophic failures. I am leading the message on this because if a high reliability mindset does not exist among the people running the organisation, no set of behaviours, rules or scoring system will ever produce high reliability within that organisation. That said, keeping focused on doing things properly should be a task for us all, as is ensuring that patient safety remains at the centre of all that we do, that we are aware if things don’t go as expected and we have a culture where we put things right.


This brings us nicely back to our recent award winners and to thank all of you in every division, service and team working in many and varied ways to deliver Mersey Care’s ambition of Perfect Care.


With that, I am taking a couple of week’s leave. I hope and trust you can enjoy a holiday or break as well. I’ve asked various colleagues to blog to you this summer and with new appointments and changes, it will be valuable to hear from the divisions and from some other perspectives in the weeks ahead.  Thank you.


Joe Rafferty,

Chief Executive