Date published: 22 March 2023

Joe Rafferty colour.jpegProfessor Joe Rafferty CBE, Mersey Care’s Chief Executive for the last decade, has once again been listed in the Health Service Journal’s assessment of the most pre-eminent CEOs in the NHS.

Each year the HSJ assembles a panel of some of the most influential national healthcare leaders to compile their top 50. Professor Rafferty is placed at number 8. The first place went to Angela Hillery, joint CEO of Northamptonshire Healthcare and Leicestershire Partnership Trusts.

Prof Rafferty said: “I’m honoured to receive this national recognition. I pay tribute to all my colleagues and peers in this list, whose work running NHS organisations is inspiring, especially with the challenges and pressures that are facing all NHS organisations.

“I am enormously proud to be Chief Executive of Mersey Care, one of the country’s largest community and mental health service providers. This award reflects the work of a fantastic team at Mersey Care who are dedicated and committed to delivering clinical excellence and whole person care in physical health, mental health, learning disabilities and addiction services.”

Each year the Top 50 reveals which chief executives are seeing their reputations rise in a survey judged by a panel of senior and respected healthcare leaders. This year’s judges included Health Education England CEO Navina Evans, NHS Providers CEO Sir Julian Hartley, NHS England chief operating officer Sir David Sloman, and Donna Ockenden, chair of the independent review into maternity services at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust.  They are asked to choose the top 50 based on the performance of the organisation run by the CEO, their contribution to the wider healthcare system, and the personal example they set to peers and employees. The focus was on their likely impact during the next 12 months, although past performance was also taken into account.

Prof Rafferty has been recognised and placed in HSJ surveys over the last decade as well as being noted rising through the HSJ’s similar annual list of most influential people in health.

Joe Rafferty has led Mersey Care from September 2012 when it was a Trust of 3000 staff mainly working in mental heath care, to a Foundation Trust of 11000, after acquiring NHS organisations such as North West Boroughs Healthcare and Liverpool Community Health. He is the co-founder and chair of the Zero Suicide Alliance, an honorary professor at Liverpool University and is widely published, including recently as the co-author of a book on the Trust’s leading work on restorative just culture. Joe was awarded a PhD in molecular genetics at Queen’s University Belfast in 1987 and worked for more than a decade in researching drug resistance in cancer.  He was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2020 for his work on suicide prevention.