It seems fitting to start this week’s blog with the NHS’ 73rd birthday celebrations and to thank all the staff over the years for their hard work, long hours and dedication. I’d like to congratulate you all for the work you do to improve the lives of patients and communities – you should all be very proud of your efforts and how that impacts on our population.

The 73rd anniversary also gives us all an opportunity to take a moment to think about the place of the NHS in our everyday lives and the ways in which COVID-19 is shaping that relationship.

Science shows us that, alongside wearing a mask, hand washing, social distancing, and meeting others outdoors when we can, our successful vaccination programme is the best way to manage the pandemic and get back to doing the things we love.

I’m extremely grateful to you and all our NHS colleagues who’ve worked tirelessly in the fight against COVID-19. We’re almost there so please let’s keep doing the things that we know help to keep us all safe.

 

Freedom to Speak Up

Mersey Care is about people and those new to the Trust will be hearing about our support services for staff, our initiatives such as restorative just culture and our work with Freedom to Speak Up Guardians.

I’d like to add my congratulations to those who’ve applauded Bernie Rochford, awarded an MBE last month. Bernie, and the full FTSU team, are critical to us being open, able to listen and able to support improvement and accountability.

Compassionate text follow–up for Liverpool patients

There’s a new initiative for patients who attend A&E in Liverpool in a mental health crisis. After staff have done what they can to support them on site, we’ve introduced a new service - we send compassionate follow-up text messages from us to let patients know we care and that they matter.

In the message, we share a website link to our new We Care webpage. There, they can access our range of information and self-help support including a library of free and curated apps and safety planning tips that can support someone to stay safe.

Research and feedback show that follow up text messages help save lives and I’m really pleased we’re doing this. My thanks to the Safe from Suicide Team and to everyone who has been supporting them. We hope to bring this to the rest of the Trust in the months ahead and I’d like to remind you all that our self-help guides are available on the website.

NHS Parliamentary Awards

Ahead of the results this week, I’d like to wish our team at The Life Rooms all the best for continued success at the NHS Parliamentary Awards. They’ve been shortlisted in recognition of their quick gear change to online support within just a couple of weeks of the first lockdown. They provided a great example of how we all had to adapt – and one that I hope will be recognised by the panel for an Excellence in Mental Health Care Award on Wednesday.

Stay safe and please play your role in keeping others safe.

Elaine Darbyshire

Executive Director of Estates, Communications and Corporate Governance