Major milestone reached as 2m COVID-19 vaccines delivered across Hampshire and Isle of Wight

A major milestone has been reached in the local delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination programme with 2 million jabs delivered across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Latest official data published on Thursday 17 June shows that 2,068,810 doses of the vaccine had been delivered locally by the week ending 13 June.

To date more than 91% of adults aged 30 and over have received their first COVID-19 jab and the vaccination programme continues to roll-out at pace across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

This milestone has been reached just six months since the launch of the biggest vaccination programme in this history of the NHS.

Anyone aged 21 and over is invited to make an appointment to receive the vaccine by contacting via the National Booking Service at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119. Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’, including a web link to the NHS website to making a booking.

With bookings open to adults aged 18 or over, everyone eligible is urged to take up the offer of a vaccine as soon as they receive their invitation.

Jenny Erwin, Senior Responsible Officer for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight COVID-19 vaccination programme, said:

“We are proud of and incredibly grateful to everyone who has stepped up and continues to go above and beyond to support delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. We will never forget the dedication of every one of our colleagues, partners and volunteers who have helped us achieve this milestone in just six months – thank you.

“We don’t stop here. Working with our partners we continue to do all we can to reduce inequalities and ensure everyone eligible receives the vaccine. We remain on track to have offered every adult across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 19 July and I urge anyone eligible who hasn’t yet made an appointment to do so as soon as possible.”

Dr Nigel Watson, Clinical Lead for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight COVID-19 vaccination programme, said:

“This is an incredible achievement and testament to the dedication and commitment of all our colleagues and partners across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight whose outstanding efforts are helping to save lives.

Getting the vaccine helps protect you, your loved ones and our communities against COVID-19. The first dose offers good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection everyone will need a second dose.

Two doses of the vaccines are highly effective against the Delta variant of COVID-19, which is now making up the vast majority of cases and I encourage everyone eligible to get vaccinated without delay.

Please keep your appointment if you have been offered one or are booked into a clinic. If you are unable to attend an appointment please cancel the appointment so that someone else can benefit from it.

If you have previously declined a vaccination – the benefits outweigh any potential
risks – if you now would like to be vaccinated please contact your practice or book
an appointment via the national booking service.”

NHS service to help patients with Long COVID

Local NHS providers (Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Solent NHS Trust and Isle of Wight NHS Foundation Trust) have a number of clinics across Hampshire and Isle of Wight to help patients suffering from the effects of Long COVID.

The service is part of a £10m initiative by NHS England, which is funding 69 clinics across the country.

This vital service has been launched following emerging evidence that reveals a growing number of people who contract COVID-19 cannot shake off effects of the virus months after initially falling ill.

The symptoms of Long COVID are wide-ranging and fluctuating and can include pain, breathlessness, chronic fatigue, brain fog, anxiety and stress. However, many patients recover with support, rest, symptomatic treatment and with a gradual increase in physical activity.

Robin Harlow, Clinical Director for Primary Care Development, Southern Heath NHS Foundation Trust said:

“We are delighted to be working with our NHS colleagues to deliver this service and support those who are experiencing the symptoms of Long COVID. While we have learned lots about Covid-19, we are still yet to learn more about its long-term effects that we know can be debilitating, even for young, fit people, or those who did not go to hospital.

“These new clinics not only give us an opportunity to support those in need but will also help us learn out more about Long COVID and find new ways to help people affected by it.”

The service is available by GP referral only and is available anyone who is still experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 for more than 12 weeks.

Patients referred into the Long COVID service will be asked to fill out a questionnaire and will then undergo a number of physical, cognitive and psychological assessments. Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) will then work alongside other health teams to develop a support plan that will help improve their health outcomes and quality of life.

Patients will also be signposted to existing Long COVID support services, and will have access to the ‘Living with COVID’ App, offering patients education, support and encouragement.

Dr Hayden Kirk, Clinical Director at Solent NHS Trust, said:

“We know it is vital that people with Long COVID get the support they need. Through our partnership working within the NHS, we will be able to draw on existing specialist services across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in a co-ordinated manner to address every persons individual needs to ensure they can benefit from a wide range of specialist advice.”

Evidence shows that 10% of people experience prolonged illness after COVID-19. The new service will be part of a research network to help the NHS learn more about the effects of the pandemic on the population.

There are six Long COVID clinics now open across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Anyone experiencing the symptoms of Long COVID can visit https://www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk/ for more information and if symptoms persist, should contact their GP or health care professional.

Young people encouraged not to let stigma stop them from accessing mental health support

Children and young people are reminded not to suffer in silence when it comes to their mental health.

Anxiety or stress is currently the top reason for young people in Portsmouth accessing counselling via the Kooth digital wellbeing service. Kooth provides a safe and anonymous space for those who might not feel confident in accessing traditional face to face services and is free for Portsmouth’s young people to access.

Darren*, aged 17, from Portsmouth, reached out to Kooth’s counselling team due to feeling lonely and experiencing low mood. He had bottled up his emotions, not talking to his parents or any other trusted adult due to the stigma that he felt exists around mental health.

Darren realised he needed a professional to talk to, but felt speaking face to face was too difficult. He took the step of logging onto Kooth.com, which provides easily accessible and anonymous access to support from skilled professionals. Darren began the process of opening up and is now having ongoing sessions with Kooth’s counselling team.

Young men like Darren might not reach out for support via traditional routes like their GP, however, online support can feel easier. He is now accessing the support he needs and the Kooth team have continued to help him reach his goals to improve his mental health and build confidence to talk to other trusted adults around him.

Commissioned by Health and Care Portsmouth in January this year, Kooth has helped young people to be supported more quickly. 11-18 year olds (up to age 25 for care leavers or those with an Education Health and Care Plan) can register themselves anonymously at Kooth.com, with no referrals or waiting lists.

The site is available 24/7, with counselling available 12pm – 10pm Monday to Friday and 6pm – 10pm at weekends, all year round. In addition to counselling, the site offers a range of self-help resources and wellbeing activities. Young people can join moderated forum discussions about a range of topics, and use a daily journal to track their feelings and reflect on how they’re doing.

All Portsmouth users surveyed on the site say they would recommend Kooth to a friend.

The commissioning of Kooth forms part of Portsmouth’s 2020-2023 Social, Emotional and Mental Health Strategy for children and young people, which includes a focus on ensuring early help is available to support emotional wellbeing and mental health needs, preventing difficulties from escalating and requiring specialist mental health services.

Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Children, Families & Education, said:

“No-one should feel embarrassed or ashamed that they’re struggling with their mental health. It happens to lots of people, especially after going through some of the challenges that Covid has presented like not being able to see friends or family, having to study at home and not being able to take part in activities that you enjoy. Lots of successful public figures like sports stars, actors and musicians have started to talk about difficulties they’ve faced with their mental health and I hope that this will normalise it and encourage young people to open up when they’re struggling and be willing to ask for support when needed.

“I’m pleased that we’ve been able to further enhance our mental health support for young people with an online service as they told us that they liked accessing support this way, especially the ability to remain anonymous. It’s even better that we’ve been able to launch it during the pandemic when we know so many people are finding that their mental wellbeing has been impacted.”

Alison Jeffery, Director of Children’s Services at Portsmouth City Council, added:

“Digital solutions are an important part of our mental health strategy for young people and have become even more essential due to Covid-19, which led to a requirement for remote options as well as increased demand for services. We’re pleased that Kooth has enabled more young people to be supported, more quickly, especially during these challenging times.

“By providing young people with a highly accessible and anonymous way to access support safely from experienced counsellors we hope this is helping to mitigate any stigma that young people may feel about accessing support for their mental health.”

For more information about Kooth and other mental health support services for young people in the city, visit www.portsmouth.gov.uk/youngpeoplementalhealth.

 

*Darren is a pseudonym

Help shape the women’s health strategy

The Department of Health and Social Care are seeking your views to help inform the development of the government’s women’s health strategy.

The consultation aims to build a better understanding of women’s experiences of health, and the health and care system. This will help shape a new women’s health strategy to better meet women’s needs.

The Department of Health and Social Care is keen to hear from as many women as possible, from all ages and backgrounds, about what they think works well and what needs to change. You can find more about the consultation, as well as information on the Women’s Health Strategy here.

The public survey is open to everyone aged 16 and over and will take about 15 minutes to complete. It closes on 30 May 2021.

You can find the survey here: https://consultations.dhsc.gov.uk/talkwomenshealth

Positive Minds is back open for face to face support from today

Positive Minds is a partnership between Portsmouth CCG, Solent NHS Trust and Solent Mind, the local mental health charity. The mental health support service is based in central Portsmouth and has been delivering fantastic online support over past last year.

The service offers a new way to support the mental and emotional wellbeing of Portsmouth residents, with a safe environment to provide support to individuals before they reach a crisis point.

The service looks and feels very different to traditional NHS services whilst providing a welcoming and supportive atmosphere. This gives people somewhere they feel able to turn to when they face periods of distress in their lives which might feel overwhelming.

It is also a place where people can meet others who have experienced similar struggles to them. So the reopening of face to face support will be incredibly impactful for many.

Claudia, Wellbeing Advisor at Positive Minds is ready to welcome people back in person.
She says:

“We recognise that coming out of lockdown will be really difficult for many people, so we are still available over the phone while we adjust. We are really looking forward to seeing people face to face, while following the government guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety. If you’re anxious about the changes in any way, please reach out to us.”

Due to the relaxation of restrictions, the service can now once again accept face to face appointments with mental health professionals and ‘peer supporters’ – people with personal experience of living through periods of mental and emotional difficulties.

To ensure the safety of users, Portsmouth residents will have to book an appointment in advance, but often one will be available on the same day. To book an appointment call 023 9282 4795 – or for more information, visit https://www.solentmind.org.uk/support-for-you/our-services/positiveminds/

 

Tips for adjusting to life as we come out of lockdown

Take your time – If you have something coming up, you don’t have to do it all at once. You can open the front door for a bit, step out into the garden or street, and when you’re feeling ready, take a walk around the block.

Be kind to yourself – If you don’t feel ready for social events, don’t feel pressured to attend right away.

Learn some techniques to manage anxiety – If you start to feel anxious, focus on taking deep breaths, counting out seconds as you do it. Do this for as long as you need to.

Talk about it – If you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed, don’t keep it to yourself. Speak to people you trust about how you are feeling or contact Positive Minds.

New COVID-19 vaccine research facility to open in Portsmouth

Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU), in collaboration with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), has secured funding to open a new COVID-19 vaccine research facility in the city.

Located at the John Pounds Centre, the Portsmouth Research Hub will open later this month to help deliver additional COVID-19 vaccine trials, as prioritised by the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce.

As the NHS rollout of approved vaccines progresses, research trials into other COVID-19 vaccine candidates will continue to collect important information such as which vaccines work best for different groups of people and which vaccines offer the most protection against variants of concern.

The Portsmouth Research Hub will provide local residents with the opportunity to take part in COVID-19 vaccine research and help researchers answer these questions.

Professor Anoop Chauhan, Director of Research and Innovation at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, said:

“We’re excited to be expanding our COVID-19 vaccine trial programme and opening a new research facility in Portsmouth.

“Thousands of local volunteers have already taken part in COVID-19 vaccine research and we’re pleased that the new Portsmouth Research Hub will create more opportunities for people to get involved.”

“We need people from every part of the UK population to consider taking part in COVID-19 vaccine research so that we can continue to find a range of safe and effective vaccines to help us tackle the global pandemic.

“We’re calling on the people of Portsmouth who are interested in taking part in COVID-19 vaccine research to visit the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry to find out more and sign up.”

The NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry, which enables the UK public to support the national effort to speed up vaccine research, was launched in July last year. Since then, over 450,000 people have already signed up, giving their permission to be contacted about taking part in COVID-19 vaccine research.

The UK public can continue to support the national effort to speed up vaccine research and receive more information about volunteering for future vaccine studies by visiting www.nhs.uk/researchcontact.

Special Online Class for Embroidery Enthusiasts

The D-Day Story museum in Portsmouth has teamed up with the Royal School of Needlework to offer some very special embroidery classes online. The classes are accessible to anyone and each attendee will be given a free ticket to The D-Day Story.

Anyone who joins the online class can also hear more about the museum’s Overlord Embroidery, stitched by the Royal School of Needlework from 1968 to 1974 in an exclusive presentation. The Overlord Embroidery is a stunning 83 metre hand-stitched embroidery which tells the story of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.

James Batney, The D-Day Story Manager said, “We are proud to be able to continue working with the Royal School of Needlework and offer the Goldwork embroidery classes online. These fascinating classes have proved to be very popular and so people are encouraged to book their places as soon as possible.”

The next available class will take place on Friday 23 April 2021. You can book your place and find out more at https://theddaystory.com/goldwork-skies-inspired-by-the-overlord-embroidery-class/

Reading Friends comes to Portsmouth

An opportunity to connect people, especially those who might be isolated or missing seeing friends, is now available in Portsmouth. Reading Friends is a programme aimed at people who enjoy talking about books and would like to make new friends in lockdown. Reading Friends can be accessed via The Library Service.

Reading Friends is a UK wide innovative, reading befriending programme from The Reading Agency and has been developed with funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.

Cllr Steve Pitt, Deputy Leader of Portsmouth City Council and Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure & Economic Development said, “Reaching out to people who are isolated or just missing companionship is very important right now. Reading Friends is doing just that, bringing people together to read, share stories, meet new friends and have fun. We will be using reading – whether books, magazines, newspapers, or anything else to get people talking.”

The Library Service will arrange for Reading Friends to meet on Zoom in small groups or talk over the phone one-to-one. However, when lockdown is over it may be possible for Reading Friends to meet in person in a library. If you’re interested in joining a Reading Friends group or getting a phone call from a Reading Befriender, contact Pat Garrett at askalibrarian@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or call 023 9268 8259.

Also, we are looking for Reading Befrienders – people to run the Reading Friends groups or call Reading Friends on the phone. If you’re interested in volunteering then register your interest at https://volunteer.hiveportsmouth.com/…/reading-friend-befr…/  and somebody will be in touch.

Portsmouth rough sleepers receive COVID-19 vaccination

Partnership working enables vulnerable homeless residents to get protected

Portsmouth City Council in partnership with Brunel Primary Care Network and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service have provided the COVID-19 vaccine to 83 rough sleepers and hostel residents in the city. This was done as an outreach programme visiting Hope House hostel and rough sleepers in key spots across the city using a van provided by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS).

The vaccination programme is being delivered to those at highest risk but rough sleepers are likely to miss an invitation due to their lack of postal address, not being registered with a GP or not having an accurate record held of their health conditions. Their living situation increases the likelihood of them suffering poor health which means they’re more likely to be negatively impacted if they catch COVID-19. Their circumstances also make it harder to follow good hygiene practices, which we know is important in avoiding catching the virus.

The vaccines were delivered by staff from Brunel Primary Care Network, who were taken around the city in an outreach van provided by HFRS and driven by one of their firefighters. The community safety contact point vehicle visited Hope House hostel, Commercial Road during times when Helping Hands were providing meals for rough sleepers, and North End high street.

Cllr Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care at Portsmouth City Council, said; “It’s important that all of our residents are enabled to live healthy lives. We know that the COVID-19 vaccination is our way out of the pandemic and we want to make sure that everyone, regardless of their living situation, has the opportunity to access it.

“This is a great example of partnership working for the benefit of the city and I’d like to thank everyone involved.”

Carole Phillips, Clinical Director of Brunel Primary Care Network, said; “We’re pleased to have been part of this piece of work and help to protect some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.”

HFRS Watch Manager Simon Bates said: “We were pleased to be able to get involved in this scheme to help some of the most vulnerable members of the community. The response from those getting vaccinated was great to see and really rewarding.”

Claire Haque, a manager at Two Saints, said; “Some of our residents have been anxious about Covid. Many are reluctant to visit health care settings though for fear of being judged so it’s fantastic that they were able to get vaccinated in a place that they’re more comfortable.”

Kimberley Brown, a user of our rough sleeper services, said that getting the vaccine was easy and she’s glad she’s had it done.

This is the latest piece of activity in our co-ordinated effort to support rough sleepers during the pandemic, which includes:
• Providing self-contained accommodation to rough sleepers and those on the brink of becoming homeless in two hotels in the city and delivering healthcare in these settings
• A new supported pathway to help rough sleepers to move from the streets to permanent and sustainable accommodation, which has seen 99 people who were using the emergency hotel accommodation move into settled homes
• Our outreach team, along with our community wardens, working with newly homeless people or those at risk of sleeping rough
• Supporting the new In-Reach Service at QA Hospital which helps rough sleepers with mental health difficulties access the health care they need and ensures that no one is discharged on to the streets
• Developing proposals to establish a new drug and alcohol support service for rough sleepers

An online event is taking place on 17 March to reflect on the work done by multiple organisations across the past 12 months to support rough sleepers and to talk about our aspirations to tackle the issues of housing and homelessness in the city moving forward.

To find out more and register for a place visit: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUufuisrzssHNQjkE6Nd3mlTFJJbSJjqZg7

vaccinating rough sleepers

Improving support for service families survey

Local naval families are being invited to share their views about wellbeing support to help shape a brand new service being launched by Solent Mind.

The Hampshire mental health charity are looking to improve access to wellbeing services for serving personnel families of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines who either live in (or have a family member with a posting in) Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport or the Isle of Wight.

Serving personnel households face unique and unpredictable challenges, which can affect the mental health and wellbeing of family members. Partners, parents and children of serving personnel of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines are invited to share their experiences via the survey.

The research will help Solent Mind to understand the ways in which they can support service families and these insights will be used to help develop a new wellbeing service.

To take part in the survey, please visit https://www.solentmind.org.uk/news-events/news/support-for-service-families/