We are PROSPECT – the Cheshire and Merseyside Lead Provider Collaborative for Adult Secure Care.

PROSPECT is the Cheshire and Merseyside Adult Secure Lead Provider Collaborative for specialised mental health, learning disability and autism services. It is made up of two NHS and one independent sector organisation that jointly provide these specialised services in our geographical area.

NHS England has devolved its commissioning budget and commissioning activity to Mersey Care as the Lead Provider in the collaborative. Our partner organisations are Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Elysium Health Care.

The PROSPECT board is chaired by Mersey Care’s Chief Executive, Prof Joe Rafferty CBE. It has been led from the outset by clinical experts from all partners and co-created with experts by experience. Its focus is on improvement in the delivery of and experience of care.

In early 2023, PROSPECT LPC achieved Level 2 of the Quality Management Framework and plans are in place to achieve Level 1 later this year.

The Clinical Lead for PROSPECT is Mersey Care’s Associate Director of Nursing and Patient Experience Bridget Clancy. As the project was coming together, it was lead by consultant clinical psychologist Dr Frank McGuire. In this short interview, Frank set out the collaborative approach providers now use, saying: “This has changed the trajectory and life opportunities for service users”.

PROSPECT Partnership Board has recently approved funding for a 2-year pilot for Cheshire and Wirral Partnership Trust’s Alderley Unit as well as funding for the implementation of a Learning Disability and/or Autism Specialist Community Forensic Team for Cheshire and Merseyside patients. They are working collaboratively with Health and Justice Commissioners to improve pathways between prisons and secure services.

Please click the links below to learn more.


The PROSPECT Collaborative covers a significant geographical footprint and has a weighted population of circa 2.5 million.

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  1. Whalley (Mersey Care low secure LD)
  2. Rowan View (Mersey Care medium secure LD and MH)
  3. Rathbone (Mersey Care low secure MH)
  4. Hollins Park (Mersey Care low secure MH and specialist community forensic team)
  5. Arbury Court (Elysium low and medium secure MH)
  6. Gateway (Elysium low secure MH)
  7. St Mary's (Elysium, low and medium secure ABI)
  8. Alderley and Saddlebridge (Cheshire and Wirral Partnership low secure and forensic support service)

A NHS-Led Provider Collaborative is a group of regional providers who have agreed to work together to improve the care pathway for their local population. They do this by taking responsibility for the budget and pathway for their given population. The Collaborative is led by an NHS Provider. The Lead Provider remains accountable to NHS England and NHS Improvement for the commissioning of high-quality, specialised services.

Provider Collaboratives aim to:

  • deliver care closer to home,
  • invest in community services and
  • drive improvements in patient outcomes and experience.

These partnerships are being established across England as part of a national programme of work linked to delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan.

The new arrangements came into effect on 1 November 2021 when NHS England formally transferred its commissioning budget of £56 million and to Mersey Care as the Lead Provider in the PROSPECT Collaborative. Mersey Care now holds a Lead Provider contract with NHSE and this makes the Collaborative responsible for the commissioning and quality assurance of the services, pathway management and service user engagement.

Over the next year, the Collaborative aims to:

  • Work closely with relevant partners to deliver highly localised integrated pathways 
  • Minimise unnecessary variation in the Collaborative’s clinical model
  • Improve quality and outcomes for service users
  • Address inequalities and improving service user experience and outcomes
    • Reduced time to assessment and waiting times for admission
    • Increased person-centred care and peer support
    • Improved recovery and life opportunities
    • More responsive and inclusive services
    • Improved pathway cohesion and reduced transitions
    • Clinically appropriate admissions and provide alternative to admissions
    • Reduction in length of stay
  • Reduce out of area placements 
  • Improve efficiency to innovate and further improve

CEO Prof Joe Rafferty says:

“PROSPECT coming to life has been a very catalytic event for us. Good, existing collaborations have become brilliant ones. Areas like safety and outcome, rather than appearing threatening to share, are being driven by learning. The experience of and access for patients has improved”.

Andy Styring, Director of Strategy and Partnerships at CWP, says:

“There’s strong mutual respect across all partners: the trusts, independent sector and NHS England. We are pledged to continually learn, support the improvement of care and outcomes for people within our respective services.”

Patrick Neville, Strategic Development Director, Elysium Healthcare says:

“Elysium Healthcare have supported the national NHS led Provider Collaboratives  programme from the very start and are proud to be a partner in the Prospect Partnership as we are in other partnerships across the country. The benefits to service users of ensuring that all services work transparently, with mutual cooperation, to deliver high quality services matched to service user need is both good practice and demonstrably an improvement in care.

The collaboration between the NHS services and ourselves in the Prospect Partnership has achieved significant improvements in access, provision and aftercare arrangements and we see the journey towards enhanced collaboration supporting services to work ever more effectively.”

Alderley Unit Pilot

  • PROSPECT Partnership Board has approved funding for a 2-year pilot for Cheshire and Wirral Partnership Trust’s Alderley Unit.
  • CWP are a Partner of the PROSPECT LPC, and the Alderley Unit provides low secure beds as part of the Learning Disability and Autism pathway
  • The pilot will fund estates development to take the Alderley Unit from a 15 bed ward to a 9 bed ward with a low stimulation sensory room and an individual flatlet and to strengthen the MDT to meet patients’ needs with Intellectual Disability Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • A need has been identified over the North West for male patients with an autism diagnosis.
  • The overall aim will be to deliver high quality, effective treatment to ID-Autism and ASD-only males – reducing length of stay and delivering sustainable community discharge.
  • The estate development and recruitment will be complete in the 2023/24 financial year.

Learning Disability and/or Autism Specialist Community Forensic Team for Cheshire and Merseyside patients

  • PROSPECT Partnership Board has approved joint funding with the Transforming Care Partnership (Cheshire and Merseyside ICB) for the implementation of a Learning Disability and/or Autism Specialist Community Forensic Team for Cheshire and Merseyside patients
  • A gap has been identified in Cheshire and Merseyside in the provision of community support in the learning disability and/or autism pathway.
  • The team will support discharge from secure inpatient services the team and reduce the number of people requiring inpatient admissions by providing specialist forensic support in the community.
  • The team will be implemented during the 2023/24 financial year.

Prison Pathways

  • PROSPECT LPC is working collaboratively with Health and Justice Commissioners to improve pathways between prisons and secure services.
  • Engagement has been undertaken with prisoners in HMP Altcourse and Liverpool to understand how the pathway and communication between services can be improved from their perspective.
  • Based on the engagement to date a proposal for a team that will enhance the links between prisons and secure services as part of the prison pathway is currently being developed.
  • It is proposed that the team will act as a single point of contact between prisons and secure services in Cheshire and Merseyside, supporting staff, prisoners and service users with the transfer into secure services and the remission to prison processes.
  • Engagement with clinicians is ongoing currently to develop a proposed service model.

MIAA Audit

  • PROSPECT LPC has been audited by MIAA with the overall objective to review the governance arrangements of the LPC to ensure they are operating effectively.
  • Substantial assurance was received and the review confirms that robust arrangements are in place.
  • A further audit by MIAA is planned for the early Summer of 2023 to review the quality processes that the LPC has in place.

NHSE’s Quality Maturity Framework (QMF)

  • The QMF aims to support LPCs to reach a stage of maturity whereby NHS England and NHS Improvement can hold the Lead Provider to account for managing the whole pathway for their population as well as enabling the Provider Collaborative to meet the accountabilities of the NHS Commissioning Board.
  • There are 3 stages to the Framework (Level 3 Forming and Developing; Level 2 Normalising; Level 1 Established and Optimising).
  • It has been confirmed that PROSPECT LPC has now achieved Level 2 of the QMF and plans are in place to achieve Level 1 in 2023.