The blog this week is jointly written because we both wanted to inform you of the important news that Mersey Care NHS Trust has achieved Foundation status.
We were informed officially earlier today and NHS Improvement, the new regulatory body formed from the merger of Monitor and the Trust Development Authority, have now shared the decision publicly.
This has been a long-stated ambition of the Trust and we would like to put our thanks on record to everyone across the organisation whose dedication, innovation and determination to raise standards has helped in this achievement.
Our progress to Foundation Trust status has been delayed because all three Trusts managing High Secure Services were directly accountable to the Secretary of State. That was changed with the introduction of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and since then we have been working towards this achievement.
Being awarded Foundation Trust status is quite a coup coming, as it does, less than a year since we received a “Good” rating for our services by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The inspections that led to that rating raised standards within our Trust and has helped us take the next step towards Foundation Trust status.
We believe the process we have just completed is one of the toughest that any Trust has ever had to go through and you should all be proud of your efforts. The external scrutiny, self-examination and level of detail required to reach this stage has been intense and it’s a credit to everyone’s professionalism at Mersey Care that we have successfully emerged from it.
Both of us are incredibly proud that Mersey Care has reached such high standards, some would argue some of the highest standards that anyone has been required to match.
Of course, just like the CQC inspection, we should not get complacent. We knew that the CQC rating was the start of a journey that will help us build Mersey Care into a mental health trust that is renowned both domestically and internationally for its innovation and high standards of care.
Achieving Foundation Trust status is a similar landmark, but by no means the end of our journey. Now we have achieved this we can look at further plans we have like establishing the Life Rooms Walton at the heart of the local community as a centre for recovery, health and wellbeing.
We also have ambitious plans for acquiring Calderstones Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as a centre of excellence for learning disabilities. Mersey Care and Calderstones Boards have agreed the acquisition and the proposal is now with NHS Improvement for final approval.
There are also plans to build a state of the art medium secure unit and Liverpool Two, based on the successful design at Clock View Hospital. Being a Foundation Trust does allow for a greater independence and projects like those we have just named should be easier to implement in our new status. We are still accountable but will report to our own recently-elected Council of Governors rather than the Government.
As a Trust we are committed to strengthening links with the local community and being a Foundation Trust will only help us in that. We have high hopes for the Life Rooms Walton, which has been restored to stunning effect and opens to the public on Monday. Those of you who have not seen it yet, we urge you to go and visit but if you don’t have time have a look at this video of the eye-catching interior.
The close links with the community we have developed at Clock View and the Life Rooms we hope to replicate for our other projects so neighbourhoods can share in the pride of our achievements and the work we are doing to improve the care standards in mental health. This is extremely relevant to our local communities and neighbourhoods when you consider that mental health is the most common form of disability.
Once again, we would both like to thank everyone for all your efforts – without you Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust would not exist.