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Life Rooms success

I’ve taken over the blog again while Joe enjoys a well-deserved week’s leave and I’m delighted to be given the chance to write about such a positive time for Mersey Care and the country.

While most of us were following England’s nerve-wracking run to the Euro 2020 final, we’ve had a success of our own to celebrate for The Life Rooms, who won the NHS Parliamentary Award for Excellence in Mental Health Care less than 24 hours after the dramatic semi-final at Wembley.


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Pictured above: Jane Holland, Business and Innovation Lead and Head of Employment and Inclusion at the Life Rooms, receives the award from Brian Dow, Chief Executive of Mental Health UK


The events of last night’s penalty shoot-out are probably a little too raw for any of us to think about today, so I’ll stick to discussing The Life Rooms’ award. I’m incredibly proud of everything they’ve achieved, but this was particularly significant because it was presented for the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the innovative way they responded to our five centres being closed.

I’ll confess that everything The Life Rooms does is very close to my heart, simply because I’ve been so involved in its development from the very beginning. The way they reacted to the pandemic, finding different ways to help service users and the local communities, however, has left me beaming like a parent at her child’s graduation ceremony.

The image below gives you all an indication of how successful The Life Rooms has been during the pandemic, but that’s only part of the story. Within two weeks of the lockdown being introduced, all the health and wellbeing programmes were transferred online while patients and the local communities were supported via telephone, guiding them to clinical support when necessary.

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These awards are incredibly hard to win and the standard of competition is consistently high. We’ve had nominations before for the NHS Parliamentary Awards, both for the Life Rooms and the Zero Suicide Alliance, but this is the first time we’ve won the national award. I’d also like to thank the great personal support and recognition of Dan Carden MP, for supporting our entry.

Everyone involved should be very proud, even more so when you consider what an impact it’s had on our service users and local communities. Kindness and compassion, underpinned by respect and expertise, have helped make the following work:

  • 461 Zoom learning sessions helping people with their health and wellbeing, which generated over 20,000 views
  • 6,574 telephone contacts took place with The Life Rooms’ pathways advisors offering social prescribing support and linking them to community help or guiding them to clinical support routes
  • 1,907 proactive contacts were made by The Life Rooms support workers to identify needs within local communities
  • 1,579 community mental health team service users with Mersey Care were proactively supported by The Life Rooms support team
  • 3,362 primary care patients were contacted with 563 signed up to Life Rooms support.


This Parliamentary award is usually given to clinical services, so it’s extra special that Mersey Care’s innovative and proactive approach to prevention, support and recovery is being nationally recognised.


COVID-19 reminders

I know Joe regularly reminds you all about the dangers of relaxing as we approach the day when we return to a ‘normal’ way of life. There’s no doubt the football has brought everyone together over these last few weeks, but we’ve all seen examples of people becoming less compassionate or patient with others – particularly when discussing the use of masks.

As we come out of lockdown, it’s worth reminding everyone of the need to support each other in the weeks and months ahead. While some of us will be comfortable returning to ‘normal’, others may be less sure and wary of close contact or, indeed, removing masks.

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I’ve just had a recent personal experience of this after being in contact with someone who has had COVID-19 and I was surprised by the range of emotions it provoked in thinking about who I may have infected myself and the still present danger that a COVID-19 infection could have on the elderly or clinically vulnerable around us. I know there have been members of my team who’ve suffered through the virus and are currently isolating, and many more who are probably still grieving after losing friends or family over the last year.

For those of you new to the Trust, it’s perhaps a good time to remind ourselves of the importance of living the Trust’s values and in particular, the two titled ‘Respect’ and ‘Support.’ Please be kind to each other in the days and weeks ahead and remember to respect each other’s views while keeping each other and our families and friends safe.


Web success

I’m very proud of the fantastic work done by our Communications team at Mersey Care on our new website. One of the many benefits of our new website, which was launched on 1 June this year, was it’s allowed us to improve how everyone accesses information about Mersey Care people and services.

We had real issues with accessibility with our previous website, which means that people with disabilities struggled to look and read many of our pages.


Old Website

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The technology which has been installed in the new website has allowed us to address that and, using the accessibility tools now built into it, I’m delighted to announce we’ve risen 166 places to No 15 for NHS websites nationally.


New website

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This is all part of our role to ensure we build in a true dialogue with our service users, carers, colleagues and our wider population to truly be informed and involved in our services. In the coming weeks, I’m also looking forward to being able to bring you more developments as we embed our new patient experience strategy at the Trust.

One of the other ways we can build on feedback is for all of us to book in and attend our Mega Conversations which are being run to hear from everyone in our newly enlarged Trust. We know many of you are busy, however, so with this in mind find out how you can submit your feedback online by visiting YourSpace.


Thanks for reading and as always, stay safe and please continue to play your crucial role in supporting and protecting others.


Elaine Darbyshire

Executive Director of Estates, Communications and Corporate Governance