In Mind: Chief Executive Joe Rafferty's latest blog on Groundbreaking and Just and Learning Culture

Medium Secure Unit

Mersey Care has grown considerably as an organisation over the last few years by adding additional services like Ambition Sefton, Talk Liverpool and our Specialist Learning Disability Division. More recently we have welcomed Liverpool and South Sefton Community Services and mental healthcare at HMP Liverpool to our portfolio, all of which represent big steps towards becoming an organisation that provides care for physical and mental health.

Another significant landmark in the Trust’s history was reached this week when work began on our new state of the art 123-bed medium secure unit (MSU) for mental health and learning disabilities, which will be based at Maghull Health Park. There is a short video of the ground breaking ceremony available here.

Chairman Beatrice Fraenkel, myself and Elaine Darbyshire, our executive director with responsibility for estates, attended this week alongside our colleagues from Kier Construction, who will be overseeing the build. We expect it to be completed and fully operational by the summer of 2020.         

Those of you new to our organisation may not know that this moment has been many years in the making. We’ve been talking about doing this for as long as I can remember and I’d like to thank everyone who has worked so hard on this project to get it to this point. To give an insight into just how long this project has been discussed, several people told me this week that they had lost side bets on predicting it would never be built.

We know that Scott Clinic, our current MSU, provides great care to our services users because of the dedicated and outstanding staff that work there, but that is achieved despite the facilities rather than because of them.

Our experiences of building Clock View Hospital a few years ago have taught us that a good environment helps with recovery and we’d like our new facility in Maghull to become an agent of the recovery process. Having a positive environment helps with health and wellbeing, particularly in mental healthcare, and we are absolutely committed to this being a centre of excellence with service users being at the heart of everything we do.

We talk now about the Maghull Health Park, which I want to establish as a centre of excellence for forensic mental health care. Nowhere else in the country is there a centre where you can walk between high and medium secure hospitals. We don’t anticipate a huge amount of movement of patients between high and medium secure but it will allow greater flexibility and experience for staff all on the same site.

We have already done considerable work with the public and private sector in our Prospect initiative for secure services, while we received a positive CQC inspection last year. Since then we have taken on mental health care provision for HMP Liverpool and we will continue to link all these services together with our forensic mental health centre of excellence at Maghull Health Park.

I’d also like to give everyone a last chance to put forward suggestions of names for the new MSU facility. It needs a name which will work well for everyone that uses its services, works in it or is visiting loved ones there.

Anybody who thinks they have a good idea for a name, can you please email and the most popular suggestion will be discussed through a governance process with the final name being determined by the board.


Just and Learning Culture

Many of you will remember that Professor Sidney Dekker, the world renowned expert on Just and Learning Culture, visited the Trust earlier this year to record our experiences of introducing it into our organisation. The results of that trip have now been put together in a film, which I would urge you all to watch here and give me your feedback.

It took a lot of bottle to take part in the professor’s project and I hope you will all be pleased with the film. The major thing we have learned on our journey towards a Just and Learning Culture is that you either decide as an organisation to be transparent and honest about good and bad things or it’s not worth bothering with. I hope you will all agree we have built positive foundations towards that and we now need to keep building on it.

One of the driving forces behind our transformation towards a Just and Learning Culture has been Amanda Oates, our director of workforce. She presented at the Healthcare Management Association awards in London this week so good luck to her and her team in the HR Director of the Year category.