Chief Executive's Blog, 18 May 2018



I’d like to start this week by offering my congratulations to all involved with the Zero Suicide Alliance, which has been shortlisted for the North’s Excellence in Mental Health category at the prestigious NHS 70 Parliamentary awards.


I’d like to particularly thank Luciana Berger MP, who has always been a big supporter of the ZSA’s aims and objectives, for nominating the ZSA for the awards ceremony in Parliament on 4 July. Whatever happens at the awards event, it’s great news that the ZSA is getting national recognition for our efforts towards attempting to eliminate suicide in the UK.


It’s a significant effort just being one of 10 individuals and teams chosen as regional champions from the North out of 217 entries. They will now go through to the national awards ceremony.


The awards aim to highlight the best of what the NHS and its partners contribute and, of course, are one of the main events for the 70th anniversary celebrations this summer. I’m delighted the Zero Suicide Alliance will feature because suicide has emerged as the most significant safety issue for mental health NHS trusts and for society in general.


We are doing that by linking with other NHS trusts, businesses and individuals and trying to ensure all services are joined up so we have a better chance of identifying those people who may be at risk. We’ve also developed a free training tool, led by the clinical knowledge of suicide prevention lead Jane Boland and those with experience like Angela Samata, which gives people the skills to talk to and deal with someone who may have suicidal thoughts.


For those of you who haven’t seen the training as yet you can access it here and there’s more information about the ZSA here.


High Praise


I’d also like to congratulate our Criminal Justice Liaison Team (CJLT) after receiving a lovely email from Jane Kennedy, Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner, who has highlighted the work of two members of the team, Sadie Canning-Dosser and Kim Harrison.


They attended the Police Commissioner’s Youth Advisory Group this week and gave a talk about their work in mental health with the CJLT as part of Merseyside Police’s support for Mental Health Awareness Week.


Jane said Sadie and Kim’s presentation was “informative, insightful and members were surprised at the level of services commissioned and the excellent partnership work Mersey Care and Merseyside Police are doing together.” The group meet up quarterly to hear about and scrutinise the work of the police and its partners.


Official Visit

Today was an important day for our Liverpool and South Sefton Community Services Division with an official visit from NHS Improvement to find out more of our plans following the release of the Kirkup Report earlier this year.

Steven Barclay MP, the Minister for State at the Department of Health and Social Care, attended alongside Rosie Cooper MP, who was instrumental in lobbying for a clinical review of the former Liverpool Community Health and led to the independent investigation which prompted the Kirkup Report.


They were joined by Baroness Dido Harding, Chairman of NHS Improvement and

Ian Dalton, Chief Executive of NHS Improvement. In addition to hearing about our plans for implementing the recommendations from the Kirkup Report, they also met with members of our Executive Board and staff to hear about their experiences of working in the community.


You will often hear me talk about the importance of our No Force First programme and the need to safely reduce restrictive practices in general. Recent data has further emphasised the success of our ward teams in looking at alternative ways to support people in distress.


All three of our clinical divisions show signs of encouraging progress but I just wanted to share one piece of data that indicates clearly the significance of the changes. In local division five of the lowest six months for physical intervention use in the last three years have occurred in the last five months (December 2017-April 2018 inclusive).


You really don’t have to be a statistician to realise something profound is happening here. We are seeing an acceleration of a virtuous circle in which the safety of the people we serve is being enhanced at the same time that staff are kept safer within a more collaborative environment. Our frontline staff, who continue to support people in often high levels of distress and agitation, deserve a huge thank you for positively embracing change.


Mental Health Awareness Week



As we come to the end of Mental Health Awareness week, it’s been good to see promotional activity around the trust. As the ‘theme week’ attention moves on, it’s important to remind everyone that good mental health remains a priority and that we have several useful guides online, accessible to staff as well as externally.


Just and Learning Culture

For everyone who asks what our Just and Learning Culture actually means to them on their ward or work place, a reminder that there’s a range of real life examples on our intranet. I know from pretty much every informal conversation I have with staff, especially frontline service providers, that you all have personal examples. 


Stories of how you’ve worked differently and have done something new or better – or perhaps how you’d wished something had been done. Please tell us about them by following the links on that page. Thank you to those who’ve sent in examples of jargon, punitive language or lines from our policies that just don’t sit right with our culture. That task doesn’t end – please tell us.


Awards Update


I’d like to highlight an award that will mean a great deal to many of you, the Cavell Star Awards. These are for healthcare assistants who show exceptional care to their colleagues, patients or patients’ families.


Anyone at Mersey Care who wins a Cavell Star Award will do so in memory of Jean Atkinson who worked for the NHS for 28 years and was a healthcare assistant at Mersey Care. She was also a branch secretary in UNISON’s Liverpool Community and Hospitals Branch and worked hard to support patients and staff.


You can nominate a colleague for a Cavell Star Award here. There is no closing date for nominations.


Joe Rafferty

Chief Executive