Trustwide News

Prof Joe Rafferty CBE set to retire as Mersey Care’s Chief Executive Officer


After 12 years leading Mersey Care and transforming the organisation into one of the largest mental and community health trusts in the country, Prof Joe Rafferty CBE has decided to retire as Chief Executive Officer on 31 October 2024.

Mr Rafferty believes, “The time is right for me to explore new opportunities and make way for others to lead Mersey Care.” A robust recruitment programme has now begun to find his successor. Please visit our website for the full story.

Step into Spring – register now and get active for charity

May is officially National Walking Month so why not become more active and support charity at the same time? Mersey Cares, the official charity for Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, raises funds throughout the year to help serve the needs of our communities, and has launched a new ‘Step into Spring’ campaign to get people moving.

They are encouraging everyone to lace up their walking shoes and join Mersey Cares for a 30 day challenge that supports wellbeing as well as helps us to raise money to support Mersey Cares’ mental health and community initiatives.

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The best part? The challenge is your own and is open to all abilities and fitness levels and you can choose your own distance or one from the options we’ve suggested – plus, you can get started at any point during the spring season.

You’ll even get a free t-shirt if you commit to the challenge! More information about the campaign can be found on their website.

Charity raffle raises £1,950 – join us for the next fundraising events

Mersey Cares’ raised £1,950 with their raffle to win a signed Liverpool FC shirt or hospitality experience at Anfield with the prizes going to Julie Fletcher who works for our Integrated Community Reablement and Assessment Service (ICRAS) in south Liverpool and Philip Antrobus from the Trust's Workforce Systems Team.

The charity is also looking for volunteers to join our annual Liverpool Cathedral Abseil taking place on 7 September 2024. The event was enjoyed by everyone who took part last year and raised some incredible funds to support our services. If you’d like to get involved, either as an individual or as part of a team, we’d love to hear from you. Please email or register here. There is a full calendar of other events you can also look into on the Mersey Cares website.

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Mersey Care at the Clinical Pharmacy Congress

Our Medicines Management Team will be representing the Trust at Europe’s largest event for clinical pharmacy professionals in London on 10 and 11  May, attending the Clinical Pharmacy Congress to share best practice and career pathways at Mersey Care.

The team will be the first to use our newly branded event stand (see image below) to promote opportunities for medicines management careers in the north west. View the campaign events page here.

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The Life Rooms wins Positive Practice Award

The Life Rooms won the Innovation in Community Mental Health prize at the national Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards, for their work in supporting clinicians to address the social needs of their service users, giving them more time to focus on clinical interventions.

They were also highly commended for this project in the Quality Improvement and/or Service Transformation category, and highly commended for their micro-commissioning of Voluntary Community Faith and Social Enterprise (VCFSE) organisations in the System Wide Commissioning category for their work in connecting and supporting local communities. More information can be found on The Life Rooms website.

Two members of Mersey Care's Perinatal Service, Ranlyot Panesar and Eloise Wynter, were also highly commended in the Outstanding Leader Award category.

Partners at The Life Rooms

The Life Rooms collaborate with a variety of partners to support our communities and have recently welcomed two new partnerships across Sefton and Liverpool.

United Utilities will have a regular on site presence over the year to provide advice and guidance on:

  • Affordable social tariffs
  • Help with arrears and short term support
  • Booking free water meter fitting appointments
  • Water efficiency and how to reduce water usage to keep bills lower.

In addition to supporting customers with water bills they will also be on hand to register customers who require extra support in the event of their water supply being interrupted.

Veterans HQ will have a regular drop-in service available at The Life Rooms Walton and Southport to provide communities with an opportunity to connect with a Veteran HQ representative and find out more about support available. The organisation helps ex armed forces personnel and their families as well as those leaving the services and residing in the Liverpool area. 

Liverpool Veterans HQ can provide and access the following:

  • Employment and job search support
  • Confidential referrals to mental health support programmes
  • CV support and work clubs
  • Volunteering programmes
  • Social events
  • Access to benefit and housing support.

More details on these partner activities and other organisations can be found on The Life Rooms website. If you are, or know of an organisation who would like to develop a partnership with The Life Rooms to support people in our communities, please contact Bernadette McGrath, Partnerships Lead:

Physical Health News

Winter plan helps ease pressure on NHS services

Mersey Care’s winter plan had a major impact on NHS Cheshire and Merseyside services with more than 57,000 potential bed days saved - 26 percent more than originally planned during the busy winter period.

Data compiled until the end of March 2024 showed increased numbers of two hour urgent community response referrals compared to the previous year, and community mental health teams working alongside urgent care colleagues to reduce pressures within A&E departments. Once again, it was supported by a proactive marketing campaign and more information can be found on our website.

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BABS proving successful across the region

Our Building Attachment and Bonds Service, which now stretches across Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Warrington, is continuing to help parents with struggles and issues after birth, supporting them at a crucial time which may affect the parent infant bond, relationships and mental health.

The infographic gives an insight into the impact the service has on parents across Cheshire and Merseyside.


Filming starts with Community Pain Management Service

Our Community Pain Management Service in North Sefton has begun filming a suite of videos which they hope will raise awareness of the service, and how rethinking our approach to persistent pain can help those affected.

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There will be several topics covered during the filming, including:

  • Modern day pain science in a nutshell
  • The importance of movement
  • Pain Management Programmes
  • Psychology and pain
  • The role of a pharmacies – Mo, Specialist Pharmacist
  • Pain Clinic Plus.

Mental Health News

Silver Birch Hubs in the media

To mark Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week two members of our Silver Birch Hubs were interviewed by presenter Phil Munns on the BBC Radio Merseyside breakfast programme.

Dr Moninne McCormack, Joint Service Lead and Lead Clinical Psychologist for the Silver Birch Hubs, and Natalie Patterson, Joint Service Lead and Lead Specialist Midwife for Silver Birch Hubs, spoke about the service and how they help families cope with birth trauma or baby loss. You can listen again to the interview here.

Intensive Support Team launch

We’ve launched a new Intensive Support Team which will work across Halton, Knowsley, St Helens and Warrington supporting autistic people who are reaching crisis and may otherwise require an admission to hospital or are at risk of experiencing a placement breakdown.

They provide effective, community based support for autistic people (without a learning disability) when they are at risk of or in crisis (and actively open to secondary care mental health services). You can contact the team via email: or call 0151 292 6964.

M-RIC welcomes new service user, carer representatives and public advisors

Hope was an important theme at a recent Mental Health Research for Innovation Centre (M-RIC) event in Liverpool to celebrate the recruitment of 10 new service user and carer representatives and over 30 public advisors.

The event, held at M-RIC’s headquarters in the Civic Health Innovation Labs, was a chance for M-RIC’s new service user and carer representatives and public advisors to meet with researchers, health care professionals, data scientists and the Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Team. More information can be found on the M-RIC website.

New employment support service for Talking Therapies

Due to the success of the employment support service in St Helens, new services launched in the Liverpool, Knowsley and Halton Talking Therapies teams in January 2024. The service supports patients, who are on the Talking Therapies caseload, and have additional needs with employment.

This could include, absent from work and need support to return, in work but need support to remain in employment or those who are unemployed and want support to find work. More information can be found on our website. A more in depth report looking at the impact of employment support in NHS Talking Therapies can also be read here.

Free haircuts and mental health information at Safe Space pop-up in Walton

Mersey Care teamed up with The Lions Barber Collective to run a free hairdressing and mental health event at The Blue Base in Walton. The Safe Space pop-up was held to coincide with Everton in the Community’s regular jobs fair and food pantry.

Local residents attended with many taking up the chance to get a free haircut, have an open conversation about their mental health and take away a goody bag which included a range of useful information about local and national mental health services.

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If you’re a barber, hairdresser or beautician interested in participating in future BarberTalk training, please contact Joleen Shaw in Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Safe from Suicide Team at

To find out more about The Lions Barber Collective please visit:

Right Care, Right Person (RCRP) goes live

Cheshire Constabulary and Merseyside Police have gone live with the first phase of four for the Right Care Right Person initiative. It focusses on giving the most appropriate and beneficial care for our communities as police are not always the right agency to respond to incidents and health and social care may be better placed to offer help and support to vulnerable people.

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  • RCRP will not stop police attending incidents where there’s a threat to life as they have a duty to protect our communities and will continue to do so
  • Police are working with health and social care to make necessary changes to service provision to ensure that vulnerable people are given appropriate care by the appropriate agency.

You can hear about the approach developed by Humberside Police and the National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing have also developed a toolkit covering decision making in relation to the RCRP threshold for police response, partnership working, training requirements, and data standards and evaluation. More information about this initiative can be found on GOV.UK

Help us name our new site

Byron Ward assessment and treatment unit for people with learning disabilities, currently based at Hollins Park Hospital near Warrington, is moving to a newly refurbished ward.

It’s going to be based at the Alders, near Winwick, on a ward formerly known as Fairhaven. We’re looking for a new name that will be memorable and relatively unique but it cannot be the name of a living person.

If you’d like to take part, you can submit your suggestions (as many as you like) via our online form.

Recognition for our lead provider collaborative (LPC)

Congratulations to Prospect, which was recognised with Bronze status for the Career Matters/NHSE Lived Experience Charter at their recent awards ceremony in Birmingham. This award was for supporting people with experience of the criminal justice system into employment. LPC are the commissioners of Cheshire and Merseyside adult secure mental health and learning disability services and have started work recruiting people with lived experience. You can read the latest news on our dedicated webpage

Whalley site handover

After 103 years in Whalley in various forms of specialist services, our buildings in the Ribble Valley were handed over at midnight on 31 March to Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust. Mersey Care now provides low secure learning disability care at the new Aspen Wood facility on Maghull Health Park.

MC Magazine - out now

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The Spring edition of our MC Magazine is out now! Packed with stories about addictions, protecting your family against measles, becoming a volunteer, building bonds with your baby and much more.

Join our stakeholder news mailing list

Do you know someone who wants to learn more about Mersey Care by joining our stakeholder mailing list? Please ask them to fill in the form on our website and they’ll be the first to hear all our news