In Mind: The latest blog from Chief Executive Joe Rafferty on the Zero Suicide Alliance and the CQC inspections

Happy first birthday

A small but significant step in the history of the Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA) was reached this week, with the first anniversary of its launch at the Houses of Parliament.

Since that event, hosted by one of our biggest supporters in Luciana Berger MP, the ZSA has made incredible progress. We started as a collaborative of NHS Trusts, businesses and individuals all committed to suicide prevention in the UK and beyond and we now have almost a hundred members.

Our free 20-minute online training programme has also been a great success. We developed it to provide freely to everyone, using the expertise of clinicians, those who have been bereaved by suicide and people who have contemplated killing themselves and survived.

The appetite for it has been overwhelming, with over 24,000 people having completed the training and are now better prepared to help save a life.

Our research suggests that people want to help those who may be struggling but many are hesitant to get involved because they fear they may escalate the situation. In fact, having a conversation is crucial to helping those who think they have nowhere else to turn for help and this training gives the skills necessary to approach someone who might be contemplating suicide.

It’s a training programme, developed in partnership with training provider Relias UK, of which we’re very proud and if you haven’t taken the course already, can I please ask you to do so. It’s very simple to navigate around and you can access it here. 

The free training takes only 20 minutes to complete and can be accessed here.

I was also delighted to see our communications team won the award for ‘Best Use of Training’ at the Engage awards earlier this week. It’s a great triumph for those who worked on its development and also those who have worked so hard on promoting it to the wider public.

CQC Update

As many of you will know, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are currently viewing sites and interviewing staff as they continue their inspection of our services.

Inspectors have already visited HMP Liverpool, where we provide mental health services, and other specialist services providing community-based mental health services for adults of working age, mental health wards for adults and older people and long-stay rehabilitation mental health wards.

The next phase announced will involve inspectors being based at Liverpool Innovation Park from tomorrow for three days and will inspect community adults, community children’s, community end of life, as well as walk-in centres.

All inspectors are easily identifiable and will wear a red lanyard, so please give them a warm welcome and don’t be shy about talking about all the good work you do on a daily basis.

In addition to planned inspections, the CQC can also make visits at short notice and can do so any time up to 4 December. They will then conduct a ‘well led’ inspection with senior management and other stakeholders from 18 December.

Are you Protected?

The NHS expects all front line staff to have their flu protection in place and we have teams in every division able to ensure you get your jab quickly.

Following last year’s position with the worse flu season in a decade, we are now directed to record why someone may decline to receive their flu protection. The evidence is clear:

  • The NHS quotes studies that flu vaccination was associated with a 71 per cent reduction in flu-related hospitalisations among adults
  • The Lancet records how when people have their jab, patient mortality falls
  • Imperial College London found that at 10 per cent increase in flu vaccination rate would be associated with a 10 per cent fall in staff sickness absence rate.

Our Medical Director Dr David Fearnley says: “It’s incredibly important for all of us to get our immunisation to protect our families, service users and staff. Have your jab.”