Joe Rafferty was appointed CEO of Mersey Care NHS Trust in September 2012. During his tenure, he has led a significant expansion of the organisation, almost trebling it in size. This has been accompanied by significant modernisation of the estate and digital infrastructure. The trust is now one of the largest specialised integrated care providers in the NHS and includes inpatient and community mental health, community physical health, and learning disability and addictions services.
At Mersey Care, he has organised the organisation around the idea of Pursuing Perfect Care using a series of audacious zero based goals such as zero suicides in care, zero restrictive practice, zero pressure ulcers and zero medication errors. Most notably, the trust has become internationally recognised for its work on restorative just practice to support learning in its pursuit of perfect care.
Awarded a Ph.D. in molecular genetics at Queen’s University Belfast in 1987, he spent the next 12 years researching drug resistance in cancer and published over 50 peer review articles on this and related areas, before a career change. Before joining the trust, he held a series of senior NHS leadership roles as regional director (NHSNW) of strategy and commissioning and CEO of a PCT where he developed an interest in safety and quality improvement including establishing the influential Advancing Quality programme.
For the past 5 years, he has been named one of the top 50 NHS CEOs by the Health Service Journal (HSJ) and has appeared in the HSJ100 most influential people in healthcare in the UK. He is a founder member of the Zero Suicide Alliance UK and was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year’s Honours List 2020 for his work on suicide prevention.