In mind: Chief Executive Joe Rafferty talks about flu, Zero Suicide Alliance, keeping a safe distance and our AGM

Flu danger

A flu outbreak remains a major concern for us at Mersey Care and the entire NHS. Together with Covid, even a small number of staff off sick will massively impact those who are left and their patients.

Frontline staff should book their jabs right now on the intranet (link). Truly, This year, more than ever, lives are at stake and we must play our part in reducing the spread of two extremely serious respiratory diseases.


Keep a safe distance

Social distancing is a very familiar term and we all know to what it refers. Our world is being shaped by stickers on the floor, screens at the shops and, in Mersey Care, how we meet and use our traditional office spaces. Particularly from the viewpoint of mental health, we should encourage people to be social, but safely. Listen, help and take time to connect.

Too many people are still isolated or excluded from the system and from the networks of contacts they rely on. Perhaps the term should be “safe distancing” or “physically distancing”.


Work is redefining itself too, from a place you go to into the thing that you do. For many of us, perhaps, that’s always been the case. The vocation many follow on wards and in communities means that work means the care for the people who need us, where they need us. But for many, work is changing and we’re not interacting at close quarters any more. It’s a Skype or a Zoom, it’s a phone call or an email. Please take time to be human and make sure that those precious connections and friendships we have built up are able to continue and flourish. 


The effect of the pandemic on mental health was given clear focus last week on World Mental Health Day. To mark this occasion we supported the Zero Suicide Alliance’s campaign ‘A month of mental health awareness’. From now until World Mental Health Day on 10 October, their social media account will post a self care activity that I encourage you to take part in.

This will culminate in a ZSA Big Brew – where the message remains as clear as ever: have a brew, safely distanced, with one of your friends or family members to catch up and check in on one another. It’s simple and perhaps life changing.


Listening and engaging

This year we’ll be online with a fully virtual AGM. You’ll hear an overview of what the Trust has achieved over the last 12 months, our financial position and delivery of our quality priorities. Presentations will be available on our website and delivered during the event by members of the Executive Team. There’ll be an opportunity to ask questions of Board members by email. We’ll respond to as many as we can during the meeting and will follow up on any we don’t have time to answer.

I’ll miss meeting you – such is the world we are now in, but please remember we remain engaged and accessible in different ways. If you would like to attend the AGM/Members meeting please confirm via email to and on registration you’ll receive the web link to the meeting.


Joe Rafferty CBE

Chief Executive