In Mind: Chief Executive's blog 30 June 2017

Friday 30 June 2017

“Success is no accident,” said the great footballer Pelé, “It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing.”


Read the FULL CQC Report from 27th June 2017 by clicking HERE.

Specialist LD, addictions, secure…where Mersey Care’s recent Care Quality Commission inspection showed some of the very best examples of that perseverance and love of what we do.

This week we learned the outcome of what was a very comprehensive inspection, a deep dive into our organisation that asked us probing, searching questions. The CQC’s methodology is now really honed so we can be confident in their findings and in what we must do to deal with the issues they highlighted.

The inspection was a direct assessment of our culture and attitude.

The “Good” rating is a real testimony to how all of you are delivering care to some of the most vulnerable people in the NHS. The inspectors described staff as caring, respectful, helpful and engaged – for me this is the real reward because these characteristics form the basis of Perfect Care. We’ve been talking about this as a concept now for a while and the CQC tested your understanding of it. We’ve been trying to change the paradigm of mental health care provision and the results we had this week show that we’re now achieving this. I’m proud to say Perfect Care is alive in our organisation.

It is fantastic to know that we have so many staff engaged in this, especially in the tough times we’re currently experiencing, with difficult conversations on funding, new services joining us and new policies to implement. Through all of this, the inspection records that people come to work here with drive and passion, to make their contribution.

People often talk about how hard it is to change in difficult times and here I want to mention especially colleagues in Whalley. An unprecedented period of scrutiny and a seismic transformation of the model of care means a massive change for staff in the division. It has been quite a journey for the former Calderstones, from a bruising ‘inadequate’ inspection to an assessment of ‘outstanding’ this week. What was done in just three years is tremendous: it took focus and determination and it delivered a great culture of care which I am proud of, your divisional managers are proud of, and most importantly, service users recognise and respond to.

What the Specialist LD Division results show is that when people talk (wrongly in my view) of “institutions”, they really need to think beyond the bricks and mortar. It is the people who make the services and I’m determined that as change comes, we will support that spirit and that passion to shape future LD provision. 


The CQC also noted that our strategy wheel was evident and understood in the wards. In high secure, for example, they said that “all staff knew of the values of the Trust and the direction the Trust wanted to move” and that those values were “successfully integrated into the day-to-day operation” of Ashworth. That gives me great reassurance that the concepts and initiatives we develop and use are truly meaningful on the wards and out in services.

I want to pay tribute to the good work done by local older people’s and LD services.  I know there is the skill and determination in local teams to move quickly to the standard we want to see. Again, the inspectors reported positive feedback about staff even against the backdrop of rapidly changing demand profiles.

It was also excellent to see the CQC quoted as recognising what we do with partners in our addictions services. That theme, repeated throughout the inspection reports, of working with stakeholders and co-producing good outcomes gives me real pleasure and pride, especially as I know this only happens when we really do have an open culture of trust and partnership.

There is no room for complacency however. We were clear in the public response this week that where the inspectors found that things weren’t right, we’ve got action plans to address them. What follows will be as that great footballer said, learning and studying what the report says, and more hard work as we carry on delivering good – and increasingly outstanding – services for those we serve.

Thank you.

Joe Rafferty

Chief Executive