In Mind: The Manchester attack and the transaction of Liverpool Community Health are the main focus of Chief Executive Joe Rafferty's latest update

Strength in Solidarity

It has been an incredibly sad week for many of us since news first broke on Monday evening of the terrible events at the Manchester Arena. We may all work for a Merseyside-based mental health trust but I know many of you either live at the other end of the M62 or have links with people over there and will feel profoundly affected by the events of the last week.

There may even be some of you who travelled over to the Manchester Arena to attend the concert, or know someone who did. Whatever your connection may be, our heartfelt thoughts go out to anyone who has been affected by this terrible tragedy.

Plenty has been written about the catastrophic events of that night, but I would like us to be able to focus on the positives that have emerged since Monday evening. It’s been truly heart-warming to hear about the many acts of selfless kindness that make our region such a great place to live and work.

From the taxi drivers who drove over from Liverpool to help out, to the homeless man that helped to comfort and support a traumatised little girl, right through to the cafes offering free brews to emergency services and of course the vigils in Manchester and here in Liverpool. All these acts of unremitting kindness should give hope to us all that we live in a society built on kindness, support, faith and above all, hope.

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I would also like to pay particular tribute to all the emergency services that attended Monday’s tragedy. The NHS has been under severe pressure in recent times, but the way everyone responded and worked together is a tribute to the dedication and professionalism of the majority of healthcare workers. Many people came into work after hearing the news and I heard a wonderful interview with one doctor who picked up his daughter from the concert and, after making sure she was safe at home, drove straight into work to see if he could help.

All of this will have had a huge emotional impact on many people this week, whether you are directly involved or just feel heartbroken for those who are. Tensions have also been heightened by the Government raising the UK’s threat level from severe (an attack is highly likely) to critical (an attack is expected imminently). This, in turn, triggers a number of actions for Mersey Care as part of a wider NHS family to support the system if needed, and to play our part in keeping ourselves, our families and, of course, our service users safe in these difficult times.

The security forces are doing all they can to minimise the risk for everyone and we will do all we can to help out other NHS services if required. I would urge you all to remain especially vigilant to the dangers of terrorism and report any activity, either out and about during your daily lives or at work, to the police on 999 or the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321.

I would also ask everyone to be a little more mindful of friends, loved ones, family and work colleagues at this difficult time. People can react in different ways to such tragic news, so I would ask you all to be mindful of people’s feelings and be ready to help out those who are close to us.

To help get that message across I am grateful to the Specialist Learning Disability Division, who have designed an easy read version of a document offering useful tips and information for everyone in the aftermath of the Manchester attack. It can be accessed here or can be viewed above.

I would also like to thank everyone for respecting yesterday’s minute silence across all of our services (see picture below from the Trust headquarters at Prescot). It was a solemn but much needed moment for us all to show our respect and support for everyone affected by the events of the past week.

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Liverpool Community Health

Most of you will know that we’ve been counting down the days to us being able to formally welcome new colleagues from Liverpool Community Health (LCH) to Mersey Care and this week we reached an important milestone in that journey. The service will be supported in part by North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (previously 5 Boroughs Partnership) and starts officially on 1 June.

This transaction has now been signed off by Mersey Care’s Board and we look forward to working alongside staff from LCH and developing services over the coming weeks, months and year. All our new colleagues will receive a staff handbook in the post next week, which includes lots of information about Mersey Care, information about our services and useful tips on how to go about things within the organisation. We hope they will find it useful and we all give them a fantastic welcome to the Trust.

As they prepare to join us, we have some new resources to support them and existing Mersey Care staff. Look out on the intranet homepage for a graphic linking to an “LCH hub” with information for new arrivals and also a new “managers hub” for leaders across Mersey Care. Both of these have come about as ‘you asked – we delivered’ and are part of our commitment to ensuring staff have easy access to what they need to know.

Congratulations

Many congratulations to the Life Rooms after being shortlisted in the Redesign of Care in Mental Health category in the Healthcare Transformation Awards. This outstanding resource helps to put recovery at the very heart of the care we can offer our service users and clients. I know the team there will welcome visits from everyone and show you all much more about the full range of services the Life Rooms now offers.

And finally

I’m sure everyone is looking forward to spending time with friends and family over the bank holiday weekend, but please spare a thought for colleagues who might be working. Thanks to you all and to everyone who is looking forward to having a bank holiday break. Have a good rest and enjoy the good weather while it’s with us.