In Mind: In his latest blog Chief Executive Joe Rafferty writes about the departure of our Medical Director and Government backing for the ZSA training

Farewell and Good Luck

We announced to staff on Friday that Dr David Fearnley, our Medical Director since 2005, is leaving Mersey Care in the near future to take up a similar position with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, the largest health organisation in Wales.

David’s new role as Medical Director will be to provide medical leadership to their Board, who deliver a full range of primary, community, mental health and acute hospital services for a population of around 678,000 people across the six counties of North Wales.

It’s a challenging role and one David I’m sure will excel in, just as he has done at Mersey Care over many years. He was formerly Deputy Chief Executive at Mersey Care between 2007 and 2010 and won the prestigious Royal College of Psychiatrists ‘Psychiatrist of the Year’ award in 2009.

During my time as Chief Executive here, I’ve worked closely with David on major initiatives such as becoming the first mental health trust in the UK to publicly commit to a zero suicide policy, becoming a Foundation Trust, overseeing two ‘good’ inspection reports for the Trust from the Care Quality Commission and, most recently, leading the desktop investigation into incidents within Liverpool Community Health between 2010 and 2014.

On behalf of the Executive Board, I’d like to thank David for all his hard work and leadership and while we are all sad to see him go, I think it’s a reflection of the excellent work he has delivered at Mersey Care that has enabled him to take on such an important role.

Government recognition for ZSA training

One of our big aims when we first launched the Zero Suicide Alliance just over a year ago was to ensure a million people accessed our free training on the website. Utilising clinical expertise from Mersey Care and the experience of those who have lived through suicide, we believe this free 20-minute course is the best of its type out there.

We’re making considerable progress toward our target of a million with nearly 190,000 people now having accessed the training, but we are always looking for opportunities to spread the message of how important the training is elsewhere

This week Jackie Doyle-Price MP, the Minister for Suicide Prevention, has written to her fellow members of Parliament asking them to take the training and promote it among their supporters, colleagues and friends

Full details of the Minister’s letter can be found here and we hope that with Government support we quickly increase the numbers of people who have completed the training so there is better understanding and knowledge of how to approach someone who is struggling.

This training was developed to ensure as many people as possible were given access to the skills that will help them approach those who are struggling and signpost them to services that can help. The main focus of that has obviously been to help those people in the community that may be struggling to access the care they need and don’t know where to turn.

We should also think about friends and colleagues we work alongside every day in the NHS. I was delighted to hear this morning that the Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, has announced that all 1.2 million NHS staff will be encouraged to take the ZSA training, which should arm them with the skills to help those in trouble. Further information about the announcement can be found here.

Those of you who are yet to have a look at the training, please do so. It’s an excellent course and it will provide you with the knowledge to help someone in a crisis situation. You can find the training here.

And finally

Our Medicines Management Building at Maghull Health Park was officially opened by Chairman Beatrice Fraenkel on Thursday, who along with the Mayor of Sefton Councillor June Burns and guests, were able to see first hand how investment of nearly £2.3 million in a state of the art building and equipment is contributing to our vision of ‘Perfect Care.’

Pictured: Head of Pharmacy Services Sarah Rafferty (left) with a commemorative plaque marking the opening by Chairman Beatrice Fraenkel, right, with Mayor of Sefton Cllr June Burns (centre) and guests during a tour of the building.

I’d also like to say thanks to the 50 staff based there for the part they all play, ensuring patients receive 13,500 items every month in a safe and timely way supported by new technology from a service built on knowledge and expertise.

 Joe Rafferty

Chief Executive