In Mind: Chief Executive Joe Rafferty talks about our eating disorder service, telehealth, award success and more

Eating disorder service

I was delighted to hear about our new service designed to help young people (16 to 25 years old) battling with eating disorders in Liverpool which will enable them to access services quicker and aid their recovery.

The service, known as ‘First Episode Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders’ (FREED), is still just a few weeks old and was originally planned to launch in April  but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s a flexible, evidence-based treatment approach. FREED’s focus on early intervention makes it more effective at reversing the changes to the brain, body and behaviour caused by eating disorders. We know the first three years of illness are crucial in treating eating disorders and the longer a young person is unwell, the more likely it is they experience significant issues.


Caring for patients at home

We’ve all done our part to move with the times and the tech during the pandemic. Mersey Care has led with virtual services and online consultations. For example, 2747 clinicians are now registered to use Attend Anywhere. We’ve also worked hard to reduce pressure on hospital admissions and I want to share with you news about one of our most positive innovations: a partnership of our own Telehealth and Docobo digital health.

Telehealth, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust

The brilliant new service offers COVID-19 patients the opportunity to be monitored and cared for in their own homes. It is properly called ‘COVID Oximetry@Home’, was set up in April and began accepting referrals from primary care last month. They plan to soon begin doing the same for patients who have presented to A&E departments. 

The service is available to all Liverpool CCG patients and we’ve seen a total of 42 referrals to date, with the Sefton cohort to be launched in December. We expect to have 800 Liverpool and South Sefton patients at any point in time by end of January 2021 and a roll out to the wider Cheshire and Merseyside footprint is being developed.

The great thing about this is it enables patients either with COVID-19 or those suspected of having it, to be cared for in the community rather than adding to the pressure on hospital beds. It allows the nurse, carer or patient to record vital signs such as blood oxygen levels that can help identify silent hypoxia at home and any signs of deterioration in their condition so we can get appropriate medical care to them. And importantly, the feedback so far is impressive: 100 percent of patients would recommend the service.


Awards success 

I want to add my congratulations to colleagues in organisational effectiveness, workforce and communications who ended last week with national recognition from the Business Culture Awards.

Our Restorative Just and Learning Culture was recognised with the best Public/Not for Profit Organisation Award 2020, triumphing over excellent initiatives from Westminster City Council and the Ministry of Defence. The judges described it as “the standout entry” and singled out the civility jigsaw and Speak Up campaign for particular credit. Our team also received additional recognition - the ceremony’s Special Bronze Award from more than twenty categories.

In addition, our work at Moss House and Woodview was Highly Commended for the team award, narrowly missing out to TSB. Judges called it “heart-warming”. We were also finalists for the Culture Transformation Initiative “Steph and Eddie’s OD Plan”. All very good work indeed and I know teams across the Trust are already eying up further awards’ opportunities to showcase our work.

The respect and civility team’s new online training module is now available. In it I speak about positive behaviours alongside colleagues from NHSEI and the leading civility saves lives campaigner. There’s also a powerful scenario enacted by our Life Rooms friends too.


With best wishes


Joe Rafferty CBE
Chief Executive