In Mind: Joe Rafferty, Mersey Care's Chief Executive, writes an update on our plans for a new mental health hospital in Southport

Liverpool Community Health

Following last week’s widespread news coverage of the Kirkup Report into the former management of Liverpool Community Health (LCH), I want to say thank you to all staff, especially our LCH colleagues and those supporting the handling of the news, staff support and information sharing. Your professionalism and calmness under a lot of pressure was vital and is really appreciated.

It gives me much hope for the future as we move away from the failings of past culture and come together as a new team to serve the mental and physical health needs of our community.

There’s no doubt this has been a painful exercise for many of our LCH colleagues, but I’m optimistic that if this is not the end, it’s the beginning of a new future for community services in Liverpool. The interim management team has done an excellent job in changing LCH into a different organisation than it was then and everyone is keen to make sure the lessons learned from this period are taken on board.

I want to ensure the expertise of Mersey Care and LCH blend together to ensure the highest standards for community and mental health care. I’d also like to point those who haven’t seen it already to a short video from Johanna Reilly, the Chief Operating Officer at LCH, and myself about the report and how we can all reflect and move on.

Southport Hospital Update

It doesn’t seem five minutes since I was at our pre-Christmas ground-breaking ceremony to mark the official start of building a new 44-bed mental health hospital in Southport. It’s great to be able to report now that works on site are going at a pace and the project is having a positive effect on the wider community.

Our Estates and Communications Teams are working with construction partners on a range of engagement opportunities, one of which is our builders Farran Heron Joint Venture, who will host a ‘Meet the Buyer’ event at Bootle Town Hall on 22 February with Sefton Council’s investment and employment service. This will enable local tradesmen and suppliers to bid for work, fixtures and fittings and contribute to regeneration across our local economy.

Heavy equipment is currently on site carrying out major groundworks and as part of our good neighbour approach a monthly drop-in site visit has been established for local residents to meet the site manager and see progress. I’m also delighted that lots of Mersey Care’s Southport staff have been getting involved in detailed space planning sessions (see below) and more awareness-raising sessions for both staff, service users and carers, are planned soon.