Publish date: 17 December 2021

Email sent on behalf of Steve Newton, Chief Operating Officer, Secure and SPLD Division 

Dear all

Thank you for the relentless commitment you all demonstrate on a daily basis in the care you provide for our patients. Across the spectrum of Divisional services we provide, I am frequently blown away by the consistently high standard of  care you provide. Yes we have daily challenges with our buildings, staffing, IT etc. as any organisation has large or small, but the delivery of care prevails throughout and that is thanks to you – whichever professional team you are in – clinical, admin, facilities, security – you all contribute to the well being of our patients and are all vital cogs in the Secure and Specialist LD machine.

I appreciate we are all once again living with the increased presence of Covid, and the pressures that brings for us all, both in work and in our home lives. Please consider the request to have Covid vaccines and boosters as a priority, you are being asked to help us keep you, your family and the patients we care for safe. I cannot overemphasise the gratitude we have for the work you have done to keep our services and patients safe since the start of the pandemic.

Our Division is home to a multi-disciplinary workforce spread across a large geographical area and a diverse range of services, Secure Inpatient and Forensic Community as well as HMPPS, Personality Disorder provision and Community Learning Disability - if I provided updates on all aspects of the Division in one email it would be far too long. So, no apologies but this email focuses on issues predominantly impacting nursing colleagues.

  • Staffing continues to dominate our thoughts and conversations. Implementation of a flexible roster and R&R payments are two tools we are using to help resolve problems associated with clinical staffing. We have recently agreed to the implementation of flexible roster across most areas of the Division - High Secure staff will begin working to a flexible roster in February 2022. Our Clinical Support Roster team have been meeting with staff over this last month to provide HSS staff with training that will give them the skills to use and input request for rostered days off and annual leave on Employee on-line, the system that will help our managers build rosters that meet our staff’s and the Service’s needs. Flexible roster in High Secure commences on the 14th of February, Staff have the ability to make requests via Employee on-line which is open, requests should be made by the 13th of January.
  • We have also introduced R&R payments, early indications suggest that this is already positively impacting on nurse recruitment, it would appear there are more applicants this month than we would normally see. Over the coming weeks we will work with services to discuss and consider R&R for areas not initially in scope.
  • Sickness continues to be high in some services - managers, workforce and staff side continue to work collaboratively to support staff to safely return to work. Unfortunately the high sickness levels and staffing pressures you feel at ward level become a vicious circle – the greater the pressure, the higher the sickness levels, which creates even greater pressures on colleagues in work. We are committed to support you to have healthy working lives through the reduction of sickness and qualified vacancies in our clinical teams.
  • We are working hard to ensure that you remain up to date in relation to the future of the Whalley site – we are acutely aware of the history of the site and family connections that go back generations. Having lived through similar changes myself, I know it is not easy to see somewhere you care about  ‘retracted’, the word in itself sits uneasily with me. Myself and the Divisional management team have been and will be on site more frequently – please if you see us and have something you need to discuss, speak to us. There are no agreed and signed plans for the future of the Whalley site yet, this is also true for Woodview, it’s fair to say progress is slow. The last communications sent by John Rowbotham still stand as accurate - as soon as we have confirmed plans we will share them.
  • We are working with staff side and workforce colleagues to understand how we can support all staff on site to continue to work at Whalley, we really want to retain your knowledge and experience to ensure patients continue to receive the outstanding individualised care provided by all of you. We would like to welcome as many of our colleagues based on the Whalley site as possible to the Maghull Campus when the new LSU opens and are committed to working with you to enable this.


  • Finally for this email - Rowan View. It’s been a very busy first year, but you have worked tirelessly in making it a safe first year. We have had to learn to live in a new building, make adaptations as we go and wait for long periods for building fixes that in normal times would take days not weeks and months. I thank you for your patience and continued energy. Your feedback and opinions have helped the senior team amend plans, action and move forward in creating the best MSU in the country. A personal reflection I would like to share with you all - as a leadership team we haven’t always got the communications right and acknowledged your voice as we should have.

Our plans for a strategic organisational design workshop were derailed in part by Business Continuity and part by the emergency situation on the Hollins Park site and the move of the Star Unit to Byron (I cannot over play the thanks we owe the team in and around Byron for their challenging first year either!). Bringing Rowan View into one clinical/ operating model remains a key focus. In recent weeks we have been able to talk much more about the communalities of care for our Learning Disability  and Mental Health patients, this is very much a positive step forward. I would like to acknowledge the work and commitment that has been undertaken by you all delivering relentless care in Rowan View.

Once again, thanks to you all, you all play a significant role in keeping our patients safe and well.

Steve Newton

Chief Operating Officer

Secure and Specialist Learning Disability Division