Mersey Care NHS Trust set up Specialist Learning Disability Division with acqusition of Calderstones

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust has completed the acquisition of Calderstones Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to establish a centre of excellence for learning disabilities.

 

Regulators approved the transaction this week following last October’s announcement by Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, confirming that Mersey Care would complete the acquisition on 1 July, 2016.

 

The two trusts, who have both been rated as ‘good’ following the inspection of their services by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), will now share expertise and good practice to care for some of the most vulnerable members of society.

 

“I’m delighted to see this coming together of two highly rated trusts,” said Joe Rafferty, chief executive of Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust. “As one organisation, we are absolutely focussed on delivering the very best care and support for our service users.

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“I would like to acknowledge and pay tribute to the staff of both trusts retained their professionalism and dedication throughout this time of change and who have worked closely with service users, carers, staff and our commissioners, to ensure a smooth transition.

 

“We’re now set to deliver the NHS national programme of Transforming Care to ensure the highest standards of care are available to everyone.  A full consultation will take place that will involve all stakeholders including service users to ensure that they are fully involved and able to help shape their future care.”

 

“The ambitions of the Transforming Care agenda are at the centre of this. We want to deliver better, more local care for people with learning disabilities, who require highly specialist forensic support.

 

Specialist mental health trust Mersey Care, who recently became a Foundation Trust, have already worked for a number of years with Calderstones and shared several senior appointments. These include Dr David Fearnley, Medical Director of both Trusts, who was also appointed this year to a major national role as NHS England’s Associate National Director for Secure Mental Health.

 

Mersey Care’s 4,000 staff work across more than 30 sites across Merseyside. Senior clinicians have proposed that local provision for learning disability services are made available in Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside.

 

The 800 staff formerly working for Calderstones in Lancashire and Greater Manchester are now in a specialist division of Mersey Care with 160 service users in their care.

 

“The ambitions of the Transforming Care agenda are at the centre of this,” added Mr Rafferty. “We want to deliver better, more local care for people with learning disabilities, who require highly specialist forensic support.

 

“I want to thank all our colleagues and partners for working so hard to make this happen. Mersey Care prides itself on being a learning organisation and by learning from each other we can work towards delivering our ambition of ‘Perfect Care.’”

STORY FROM THE HEALTH SERVICE JOURNAL

Mersey Care Trust

Regulators approve landmark trust merger

30 June, 2016 By Joe Gammie

Regulators have approved the acquisition of England’s last standalone learning disability hospital trust, HSJ can reveal.

Mersey Care Foundation Trust will take control of the Calderstones Partnership Foundation Trust, which runs the 223-bed Calderstones Hospital in Lancashire.

Joe Rafferty

Joe Rafferty said the provider is ready to ‘ensure the highest standards of care’

In October, NHS England announced Calderstones’ main hospital site in East Lancashire was to close within three years, as part of its drive to substantially reduce the number of people with learning disabilities and autism in inpatient care.

While Mersey Care will take over management of Calderstones, the future of its services – and how its 160 patients will be cared for – is to be decided in consultation to be led by NHS England. However, proposals are likely to include the closure of the hospital.

The 800 staff working for Calderstones in Lancashire and Greater Manchester will become part of a specialist division of Mersey Care.

Mersey Care chief executive Joe Rafferty told HSJ he was delighted the merger was being completed and praised staff at both trusts for working hard to ensure a smooth transition of services.

He added: “As one organisation, we are absolutely focused on delivering the very best care and support for our service users.

“We’re now set to deliver the NHS national programme of Transforming Care to ensure the highest standards of care are available to everyone. A full consultation will take place that will involve all stakeholders including service users to ensure that they are fully involved and able to help shape their future care.”

The aim of the national Transforming Care programme is to close between 30 and 50 per cent of learning disabilities inpatient beds. The programme said a “key plank” of its work would be to close and re-provide Calderstones’ services, with patients either leaving inpatient care, or moving into what the document called “state of the art” units elsewhere in the North West.

The acquisition by Mersey Care represents a significant step towards this.

Mr Rafferty said he could not comment on which models of care would be consulted on but he added: “The ambitions of the Transforming Care agenda are at the centre of this.

“We want to deliver better, more local care for people with learning disabilities, who require highly specialist forensic support.”

More than half the patients at Calderstones Hospital are in secure units, with many having been referred from the courts and prisons for serious violent offences.

Calderstones Hospital opened in 1915 and was initially used as a military facility before reverting to its intended use as a mental asylum. It went on to house 3,000 people in the 1970s, before being scaled back as standards of care were modernised.