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Joe’s Blog

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Chief Executive Officer, Prof Joe Rafferty CBE, uses his latest blog to inform about a new patient information system which is being developed by the Trust after being commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). It will hopefully be deployed eventually across all mental health trusts and you can read the full blog elsewhere on our website.

Our Services

Royal welcome for Zero Suicide International Summit in Liverpool

Leading researchers and thought leaders from 22 countries were given a Royal surprise when they attended the Zero Suicide 5 International Summit at the iconic Liver Building on 24 to 25 June, with an official welcome from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

The Prince personally recorded a video message for the delegates, which included a reference to his Life Rooms visit a few years ago, and was shown at the event hosted by award winning broadcaster Claudia Hammond.

Changes to mental health emergency and urgent referrals

Mersey Care has changed the way mental health emergency and urgent referrals are received from GPs in St Helens, Knowsley, Warrington and Halton. In the event of an emergency referral (up to four hours), very urgent referrals (up to 24 hours), or urgent response (up to 72 hours), please contact our First Response Service on 0800 145 6570 and press option 1. The team will accept, log referral information and transfer to the most appropriate person for action.

As part of national transformation to reduce and simplify points of access into mental health services, emergency and urgent referrals will not be accepted in paper format to the current email address/team.

Non urgent referrals can be made by completing a bio-psychosocial referral form and emailing:

GPs or Primary Care Network ARRS mental health practitioners can refer for non-urgent secondary care assessments and formulation and intervention offers, to support achievement of service users’ personal goals, where attempts to support them in primary care are not appropriate or have been unsuccessful. Referrers will be informed of outcome/actions from the multidisciplinary team and subsequent routine assessment.   

PCN colleagues will support GPs over the coming weeks with criteria for referrals to make sure they reach the appropriate team and ensure correct response times are achieved.

Stack of Stones

In support of Armed Forces Week, a piece of artwork is on display at our Peasley Cross site, produced by artist and ex armed forces member, Chris Whittle. Stack of Stones (SoS) is in the reception of Harry Blackman House for the next few weeks and visitors to the site are welcome to drop in.

SoS is a memorial to military personnel and veterans who have taken their own lives and aims to make people aware of the suicide rate, not only in veterans, but in serving military personnel. It’s also an opportunity to raise awareness and promote suicide prevention.

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It consists of over 75 white pebbles, each representing a serving military person and a military veteran, who has taken their life, each year. Placed in the middle are names of those who have taken their lives. Government figures claim an average of 50 veterans have taken their lives each year from 1996 to 2018, although social media and veteran groups suggest this figure is exceeded by at least 25 veterans and serving personnel each year.

Similar pieces are also situated at St Helens Town Hall and will be available at the Ignite Your Life event, which begins on 10 July 2024 in Warrington. It’s hoped the artwork gains interest and shares a clear message: A Veteran is for Life, not just for Serving.

Family Summer Support at The Life Rooms

The Life Rooms will be supporting families in the run up to the summer holidays with a range of free activities, including:

  • Information about free activities and free healthy meals available for families over summer
  • Services available from The Life Rooms and across the community to help with areas such as hardship, wellbeing and other needs
  • Opportunities for families to connect with community organisations and services to help improve their health and wellbeing
  • Taster sessions of our learning curriculum to help improve confidence and skills for health and wellbeing
  • Cooking on a budget demonstration at The Life Rooms Walton.

Further information about all these activities, which take place at The Life Rooms Bootle on Thursday 18 July between 11am and 2.30pm and The Life Rooms Walton on Friday 19 July between 11am and 2.30pm, is available on The Life Rooms website.

NHS England visit our latest hospital

NHS England’s interim Chief Operating Officer, Dame Emily Lawson DBE, visited Aspen Wood, which is Mersey Care’s newest hospital based at Maghull Health Park.

Dame Emily met our Chief People Officer, Amanda Oates, and spent a number of hours in valuable discussion with divisional director, Steve Newton, and our clinical leads from across learning disability care.

Pictured below (left to right): Divisional Director Steve Newton, Head of Service Julia Musker, Dame Emily Lawson DBE, Head of Learning Disability Nursing Nicola McNulty and Dr Johannes Cronje, Clinical Director.

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Our Achievements

Congratulations to Prof Joe Rafferty CBE – one of the most trusted CEOs in the UK

Congratulations to our Chief Executive Officer, Prof Joe Rafferty CBE, who has been named as joint second in the Health Service Journal’s (HSJ) list of the most trusted CEOs in the country over the last decade.

Joe finished narrowly behind Sir Julian Hartley, Chief Executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust from 2013 until he became the CEO of lobby group NHS Providers in 2023.

The HSJ give Joe recognition for tripling “the size of the trust he ran so that it became the biggest of its type in the country and a beacon of good performance in one of the service’s most challenging health economies.”

The publication also described Joe as having “one of the mental health sector’s most powerful voices,” and “the country’s leading champion of the idea of ‘zero suicide.’”

Mersey Care student health visitor wins national award

Rebecca Caffrey, a student health visitor with our services based at Bootle Health Centre, has won a prestigious national award by winning the Queen's Nursing Institute's Dora Roylance Memorial Prize.

This academic prize is offered for outstanding students who have completed the Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) Health Visitor programme and is presented on an annual basis. She won the award for her 'Outstanding Achievement as a Health Visiting Student.' More information can be found in our website’s news section.

Get Involved

September date set for Mersey Care’s Annual General Meeting

The Trust’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place on Wednesday 25 September 2024. It will be held at Aintree Racecourse in the Golden Miller Suite between 1.30pm and 3pm.

The AGM provides an opportunity to find out more about the Trust and also review some of our highlights and performance from over the last 12 months. More information about the event and how to register can be found on our website.

Climbing for Care: Doctors Climb Mount Snowdon to Support Mersey Cares

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Last month a team of six Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust doctors came together to climb Mount Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), the highest mountain in Wales, to raise funds for Mersey Cares charity.

We’re delighted they completed their challenge, raising an incredible £1,190 which will support the charity’s aims to tackle health inequalities, challenge stigma and help our specialist mental health and community services.

Dr Nanda Dayalan, a Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director for Adult Inpatient Services, speaking on behalf of the team, said they felt ‘humbled and honoured' to be part of the challenge:

"Through this challenge, we hope to have conveyed the message that keeping fit and networking with people will improve mental wellbeing. We believe a stronger and healthier workforce can lead to better service provision for our patients.”

Read more about their adventures on Snowdon: Climbing for Care: Doctors Climb Snowdon to Support Mersey Cares :: Mersey Care Charity

NHS Big Tea 2024: Celebrate 76 years of the NHS and help raise charity funds

Will you be joining us this month to celebrate 76 years of the NHS by either hosting or attending an NHS Big Tea?

By hosting an NHS Big Tea party, you can help raise funds for Mersey Cares charity while connecting with friends, family and colleagues – and enjoying a well earned cuppa!

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Autism and Mental Health training for local authority and community practitioners

Mersey Care are offering further dates for our successful training for those working with autistic adults in services. Some sessions are on Microsoft Teams and others are in person at Harry Blackman House.

This interactive training will:

  • Increase your understanding of autism and neurodiversity
  • Provide information/tools on how you can understand, assess and provide effective interventions for autistic adults and mental health difficulties
  • Reflect on and identify realistic and potential reasonable adjustments you can make in your own work
  • Suggest what models and approaches can assist you in your work.

Dates and information on how to register for the training are below:

July 2024

Wednesday, 10 July (admin/non-clinical staff)

10am to 11am

Microsoft Teams


Thursday, 11 July

10 am to 1pm

Microsoft Teams


Wednesday, 17 July

1pm to 4pm

Microsoft Teams


Thursday, 18 July (admin/non-clinical staff)

3pm to 4pm

Microsoft Teams





August 2024

Wednesday, 7 August (admin/non- clinical staff)

10am to 11am

Microsoft Teams


Thursday, 15 August

10 am 1pm

Harry Blackman House


Tuesday, 20 August

1pm to 4pm

Microsoft Teams


Thursday, 29 August (admin/non-clinical staff)

3pm to 4pm

Harry Blackman House





September 2024

Tuesday, 10 September (admin and non-clinical staff)

10am to 11am

Microsoft Teams


Thursday, 12 September

10am to 1pm

Harry Blackman House


Tuesday, 17 September

1pm to 4pm

Microsoft Teams


Thursday, 26 September (admin and non-clinical staff)

3pm to 4pm

Microsoft Teams

To book, or for more information, email:

We also offer bespoke training to teams and a specialist ASC consultation service to support staff in their work with people on the spectrum.

‘Count Me In’ workshop aims to widen participation in research

Service users and staff from Mersey Care have joined together at the start of a campaign called 'Count Me In' to help develop plans to widen participation in research.

The workshop focussed on the design of resources and writing of messages to explain the purpose of 'Count Me In' and how it works when it is rolled out later this year. It was the second event in an ongoing co-production project.

The campaign aims to give all patients, service users and carers the chance to know about research activities, by contacting them directly unless they tell us not to do so.

More workshops and consultation events are taking place over the coming months to spread awareness about 'Count Me In.' Further information can be found on our website.

Share your experiences of social isolation and loneliness

The Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA) is currently starting a project to update our social isolation (step-up) training! This was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic and has been taken nearly 175,000 times.

The ZSA wants to update the training to reflect social isolation in the post pandemic world and expand the training to cover the impact of loneliness. As part of this, they’re keen to hear from you about your experiences of social isolation and/or loneliness.

Do you have 10 minutes to spare to share your experiences to help inform and shape the training? If so, we’d ask you to please complete the survey.

MC Magazine

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Out now: MC Magazine’s summer issue featuring:

  • Schizophrenia - an expert asks why are we scared?
  • It seems yoga is better for men and weights for women - are we getting exercise all wrong?
  • Met the young people bonding with skunks and millipedes
  • Dip into the world of wild swimming and hear inspiring success stories from Mersey Care’s Pain Management Clinic.

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