Chief Executive's blog on the importance of making progress


I always like to start my weekly blogs on a positive note and I’m delighted to report that the finance team at Mersey Care has recently achieved the highest level of finance staff development accreditation in the North West.


We’re now one of only 10 out of 70 other trusts in the North West to have achieved this accreditation, which demonstrates consistently excellent performance of a leading edge finance team. It’s a standard to which all North West trusts aspire and we will receive our certificate at a North West finance directors awards ceremony in October. 


Their success is all the more impressive because of the steps they have had to go through to receive this accreditation. Over 500 pieces of evidence had to be submitted and the reviewers spent two days reviewing evidence and speaking to staff. There was also a presentation to the Towards Excellence panel in April. 


Gayle Wells, our strategic business accountant and finance staff development lead, told me: “We’re very proud of our finance team for achieving this highly regarded accreditation, something which NHS Improvement and the CQC look to when making their assessments of well led organisations.”


Global digital exemplar

Mersey Care is proud to be a global digital exemplar and this week we set out more about how our work is making a difference to service users and practitioners. Our expo event at Aintree Racecourse was very positive and useful, and we were able to showcase to NHS England, NHS Digital, our governors and service users. 


It was an enjoyable event and thanks to everyone who worked so hard to arrange it as well as those who attended. It was a great way of highlighting and describing the things we are doing to embrace the digital age.


It was a particularly good opportunity for many of you to meet Asim Patel, the chief information officer at North West Boroughs NHS Foundation Trust and interim chief information officer at Mersey Care. He spoke about how the two trusts have collaborated digitally to set up initiatives like the single electronic patient record programme.


We also heard from Jane Boland, our suicide prevention lead, and Alina Haines, research associate for the University of Liverpool, who talked us through zero suicide context and app research. The suicide prevention app that is being developed will use artificial intelligence and background technology to better predict when people are at risk using a new dashboard and predictive analytics.


Adam Drage, one of our community mental health hub managers, and Les Irving, one of our community mental health providers, talked about how the digital revolution should improve patient experience and allow clinicians to innovate. There was also a note of caution expressed about signposting service users to highly qualified apps, and not just any apps, some of which could be damaging if they are not underpinned by clinical knowledge.


Dr Jules Carlisle, one of our clinical psychologists, discussed the use of avatars in psychological therapies and Jim Hughes, our GDE programme director discussed patient held care records. Dr Jennifer Kilcoyne, deputy chief information officer and deputy director of the centre for perfect care, also talked about the work she does with a new generation of clinicians enjoying the challenge of adopting new digital technology to actively aid frontline healthcare.


Hand hygiene day

Saturday is hand hygiene day, an annual event that aims to highlight the important relationship between good infection prevention and control practices, such as washing your hands, and preventing Sepsis. 


For those who don’t know, Sepsis is estimated to affect 30 million people worldwide so the importance of hygiene is paramount. Here are some tips from our infection, prevention and control team and more information is available in this video.



I’d like to officially welcome Dr Murray Freeman to Mersey Care, who takes over as a non-executive director after the bank holiday. He is a GP on the Wirral and was formerly a non-executive director at Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust .


Murray is a CQC special advisor and his wide range of experience in delivering care, minimising patient harm, monitoring quality standards compliance and standards for the CQC and regulatory bodies will be a huge asset to the Trust. 

And more congratulations

Two of the Trust’s teams are heading to London this week to make presentations after being shortlisted for the HSJ patient safety awards. The Seaforth and Litherland district nurse team is aiming to win the ‘patient safety in the community’ category after making changes that resulted in a reduction in the number of pressure ulcers.


The triage car action plan joint agency positive outcomes for complex individuals, a joint initiative between ourselves and Merseyside Police, is also shortlisted for the ‘mental health and learning disabilities’ category. Good luck to both teams.


I’d also like to congratulate Lindsay Whitaker, a nurse specialising in learning disability and based at our Whalley site, for being a finalist in the student nursing times awards. Lindsay can be found working in the health centre and with the women’s service.