More support for people with both learning disabilities and diabetes in the South East

Thousands more people with learning disabilities who also have diabetes will no longer need to do painful finger prick tests thanks to life changing technology now available on the NHS.

In a major expansion of the Flash glucose monitoring rollout, people with learning disabilities will be eligible for a Flash device to help them manage any type of diabetes, provided they use insulin to treat their condition.

Bradley Emmans, who is from Portsmouth and has Downs Syndrome, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 9 months old. He was recently prescribed a Flash glucose monitor which will help him to manage his condition via a mobile app.

Each Flash device is the size of a £2 coin and is worn for up to 14 days at a time on the back of the upper arm. Having this means Bradley no longer needs multiple finger prick checks a day in order to monitor his blood sugar levels.

The information collected by Flash helps Bradley, his family, and his carers track his sugar levels 24/7. The monitor alerts them when the level is is too high or too low, reducing the risk of hypos which can be fatal.

It also allows his clinical team to identify what insulin changes are required in order to achieve optimal glucose control and keep Bradley well.

Bradley’s Dad, Clifford Emmans said:

“Before Flash, Bradley’s diabetes control was not good. His levels were always high, meaning we had to do frequent finger prick checks which Bradley hated. So much so, he developed severe anxiety about his hands being touched.

“He doesn’t recognise the signs of changes in his glucose levels, so Flash not only does that for him, but it also tells me what Bradley isn’t able to.

“Bradley loves going to concerts, but before Flash it was always a hassle to check his levels in the middle of the action as it would mean getting all the kit out in an unsterile environment. Now he has Flash, Bradley can carry on dancing and I simply wave my phone past his arm. I’ve got my reading, no one in the crowd is any the wiser and Brad is happy.

“Now Bradley’s glucose levels sit at around 6 or 7 which is a huge improvement, and his anxiety has dramatically reduced. Flash has been a total blessing and it has completely changed our lives.”

Duncan Burton, Chief Nurse for NHS England and NHS Improvement in the South East said:

“This announcement is a fantastic example of how the NHS is prioritising the use of the latest technology to support people with learning disabilities.

“Flash glucose monitors can make a huge difference to the way people with a learning disability can manage their diabetes, helping them to stay well and out of hospital.”

The original roll out of Flash devices only applied to select patients with Type 1 diabetes, but many people with diabetes and a learning disability have Type 2 diabetes. The NHS is now offering Flash to all patients with a learning disability and diabetes if they use insulin to manage their condition.

Up to three thousand people are expected to benefit from the roll out to people with a learning disability.

Solent Mind launches Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Helpline

Leading Hampshire and Isle of Wight mental health charity Solent Mind has launched a free helpline, available to those experiencing poor mental health or wellbeing issues as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Experienced advisors can offer bitesize support to those feeling anxious or low as well as practical guidance on keeping mentally well during isolation. The confidential service can also signpost callers to specific local support, such as benefits advice or bereavement services.

Solent Mind Chief Executive, Kevin Gardner says: “We’re seeing that Coronavirus has significantly impacted the emotional health of our communities through the uncertainty attached to income, housing, family and relationships. Our knowledgeable staff, many of whom have their own personal lived experience of mental health issues, can offer useful ways to move forward.”

Solent Mind supports over 25,000 people each year through a network of Wellbeing Centres, talking therapies and specialist recovery-focused services across the Solent region. Although face-to-face appointments have been temporarily suspended, many core services continue to operate a vital telephone service for both new and existing service users alike.

It is hoped that the introduction of the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Helpline and the adaptation of Solent Mind’s mental health services can reduce the pressure on NHS services and the risk of people experiencing an urgent mental health crisis.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive, Dr Nick Broughton says: “Charities such as Solent Mind play a vital role alongside NHS mental health services and we need to work together now more than ever. I welcome the new helpline and applaud colleagues at Solent Mind for adapting their services to continue supporting people in need during this extraordinary time.”

The Solent Mind Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Helpline is available to residents in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm (except bank holidays) on 023 8017 9049.

Further details can be found in Solent Mind’s Coronavirus Wellbeing Hub, which contains up to date service information and free downloadable mental health toolkits for the whole family: www.solentmind.org.uk/coronavirushub.

ENDS

Getting end of life care right

Many of us don’t like to talk about it, but it comes to us all – the period at the end of our lives, when we reach our final weeks, days, and hours.

Getting end of life care right is hugely important – both for the patient, and their loved ones. At such a sad and stressful time it matters more than ever that support is timely, effective, and caring.

The local NHS is looking at how it delivers end of life care – for people of all ages, living with all conditions and illnesses, at every stage – from diagnosis all the way through to palliative care, and bereavement support. The aim is to learn from people’s experiences to help improve services and support in the future.

Hearing from people with personal, direct experience is essential – whether it is patients, carers, those who have been bereaved, and staff – to give the NHS a real insight into what works well, and what could be improved.

All aspects of end of life care are being looked at, including care from staff in GP surgeries, community teams, hospital staff, and hospices, not only in Portsmouth but also in Fareham and Gosport, and South Eastern Hampshire, as well.

Early discussions with patients and carers suggest that there are some areas of real strength, and some areas where people feel they have not received the care and support they needed – such as communication, access to information, or the way that different teams work together.

The ambition of the local NHS is to work with local people to develop services which give consistently excellent care, which involve patients and carers, and which are designed around the needs of patients, not organisations.

Dr Elizabeth Fellows, clinical chair of NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group and involved in work on end of life care across the Portsmouth and south east Hampshire area, said: “It might sound like a contradiction in terms, but a ‘good death’ is so very important. If a person can be supported towards the end of their life in the right way, it can bring real comfort to them and their loved ones. But if the care isn’t good enough, quick enough, or compassionate enough, it can cause real upset and even trauma.

“We aren’t just thinking about the final few days of a person’s life. We want to look at how the NHS and its partners can help people right from the initial diagnosis, and then at every stage after that. It involves not just hospices and community teams, but hospital staff and GP surgery teams as well – so many of us play a role, we need to see where we can improve, and perhaps where we need to work together more effectively.”

A few early discussions with small groups of patients and carers have already taken place, and now a survey is available to capture feedback from a wider group. After that the intention is to set up workshop sessions to allow patients, carers, and healthcare professionals to come together to talk about what improvements are needed in more detail, and how to secure those improvements. The ambition is to involve people throughout the process.

If you have experience of end of life care, either as a patient or carer, your insight and knowledge can help to inform discussions and decisions.

Firstly, the NHS would welcome hearing about your experiences via a survey – just click here to answer a few questions – and if you are interested in learning more about future events please email pccg.commissioning@nhs.net to register your interest.

The city’s celebration and learning event for learning disabilities returns

Portsmouth’s learning disability service is inviting people with learning disabilities, their carers and professionals who work in the region to attend a free event at Gunwharf Quays on Friday 24 January.

The event will showcase the services available to people with learning disabilities in Portsmouth and will also feature a series of workshops for learning disability professionals, families and members of the public.

Portsmouth’s learning disabilities team, which is a joint service run by Portsmouth City Council and Solent NHS Trust, has transformed the way it works with people with learning disabilities in the city. It is one of a handful of services in the country recognised as outstanding by the Care Quality Commission, the care watchdog.

Cllr Matthew Winnington, the council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care said: “We have an excellent learning disability service here in Portsmouth – and I’m really looking forward to attending this event again, it’s a perfect way to showcase the enormous amount of talent, passion and expertise we have in the city.

“Our services bring together health and social care professionals to deliver more person-centred care that aims to help people reach their full potential, supporting all to lead healthy independent lives within their own community.”

There is a huge range of support on offer in Portsmouth for adults with learning disabilities, and the learning disability service works with local providers to make sure that there’s something for everyone. One of those providers is Creative Advances, an independent team that provides person-centred support for adults with learning disabilities and autism.

Faye Dine, Service Manager for Creative Advances, said:  “This learning and celebration event will include lots of information about the services Portsmouth offers. It gives the community an opportunity to make informed choices about the services available to them.

“We work really hard to provide meaningful activities for adults with learning disabilities and autism, offering over 50 health and wellbeing activities a week to help people develop their skills.”

The learning disability service is one of many examples of how joined up services delivered in partnership between health and care providers can make a real difference to people living in the city.

Jo Perry, Interim Head of Operations, Solent NHS Trust, said: “I am delighted that there is to be another key event to inform ourselves, our service users, their families, our partners, and our providers of the growing opportunities for people with a learning disability living in Portsmouth.

“The event promises to bring together all of our stakeholders and celebrate the numerous developments in services across the city. Whilst my passion lies with ensuring positive mental and physical well-being for people this can only be really achieved if we all work together to look at all aspects of what keep people well – friendships, work and housing. It feels that within learning disability services many of the connections required to really meet people’s needs are beginning to pay real dividends.”

The venue, Gunwharf Quays training academy, has been provided free of charge by the shopping destination.

Yvonne Clay, Senior Marketing Manager at Gunwharf Quays, said: “Gunwharf Quays is at the heart of the community in Portsmouth, and we are passionate about supporting local projects that work towards a better future for all. We’re delighted to provide a venue for this event, which will help enable every member of the community to reach their full potential.”

The celebration and learning event will be held from 10am to 4pm on Friday 24 January at the Gunwharf Quays training academy, opposite Marks and Spencer. The event is a drop in format, so attendees are invited to attend at any point during the day. Full details of the day, including details of the workshops available, can be found by visiting healthandcare.portsmouth.gov.uk/celebration

Health and social care organisations in Portsmouth are dedicated to working closely with people with learning disabilities. This includes investments in state-of-the-art facilities for young people with learning disabilities and facilitating the Portsmouth Learning Disability Partnership Board, which aims to support adults with a learning disability in Portsmouth to lead independent, fulfilled and active lives.

Help beat the January blues with PositiveMinds

January can be a difficult month – the thrill of the festive season is over and spring seems a long way off. But for Portsmouth residents who are struggling to cope, there’s a free service on hand to help people look after their emotional wellbeing – PositiveMinds.

It is there for people who are living through low mood, anxiety, or who feel overwhelmed and helpless in face of problems such as money, housing, relationships, work, bereavement, leaving the Forces, or living away from home at university.

After opening its doors in late December to offer support over Christmas, the drop in service on Middle Street is now open from Monday to Saturday – and is ready to offer support and guidance to anyone in need.

Cllr Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care visited the new service recently and said: “Taking care of your emotional health is so important – particularly as we’re approaching ‘Blue Monday’, when the stresses and strains of life can start to take a toll. It was inspiring to have the opportunity to meet the PositiveMinds team – they’re a lovely group of people who offer holistic support and can help signpost people to other services that can help get things back on track.”

Solent Mind Wellbeing Advisors, who have experience of living with, and through, mental health issues are available at the new site to provide practical advice, coping skills, and peer support, in partnership with colleagues from Solent NHS, Portsmouth City Council, and the voluntary sector.

The service’s opening hours are Monday to Friday from 12.30pm – 7.30pm and Saturday 10.30am – 1.30pm. PositiveMinds is based on Melbourne Place just off Middle Street, about 50 yards south of Winston Churchill Avenue.

PositiveMinds is a partnership between Solent Mind, Solent NHS Trust, NHS Portsmouth CCG, and Portsmouth City Council. It is funded by the local NHS, the council, and Armed Forces grants. Find out more at www.positivemindsportsmouth.org.uk

Please note: PositiveMinds is designed to help a wide range of people, but it is not a crisis service or a “mental health A&E”. If anyone needs help urgently they should call NHS 111, which now offers specialist mental health nurses, or the Samaritans on 116 123. If there is an immediate risk to someone’s safety, please dial 999.

Mental health support in Portsmouth

PositiveMinds is one of a number of projects to improve emotional wellbeing in Portsmouth that health, social care and voluntary and community groups are working together to deliver. Other projects include Towards Better Health, which provides mental health nurses to support homeless people, the Time to Change Hub, the creation of a mental health crisis card available for individuals and groups, and Portsmouth Interaction, run by BH Live to provide sports and leisure activities to those experiencing mental illness.

Getting end of life care right

The local NHS is looking at the way that patients and their carers are supported as they near the end of life.

Do you have experience of end of life care, as a patient or carer? If so, your insight can help us.

From diagnosis through to palliative care, services must work together to offer seamless care, advice and help at every stage. We want to involve patients and carers to help us deliver that, across Portsmouth and the surrounding areas.

The intention is to involve patients and carers at every stage as we look at how services work now, and how they could work better in future.

There are a few ways to get involved:

This project covers Fareham and Gosport, South Eastern Hampshire, and Portsmouth as well, so if you know of people living in elsewhere in that wider area who may also have a contribution to make, please let them know.

PositiveMinds opening before Christmas

Positive Minds logo

A new-style service for people facing difficulties and distress in their lives will open in Portsmouth next week. Visit: www.positivemindsportsmouth.org.uk.

PositiveMinds opens for the first time on 23 December. It is there for people who are living through low mood, anxiety, or who feel overwhelmed and helpless in face of problems such as money, housing, relationships, work, bereavement, leaving the Forces, or living away from home at university.

The new service is centrally located in Portsmouth – it is on Melbourne Place, just off Middle Street, about 50 yards south of Winston Churchill Avenue.

It provides a welcoming, accessible environment for people who may find it hard to reach out for help, including our armed forces community. No appointments are necessary, people can just drop in.

Solent Mind Wellbeing Advisors, who have experience of living with, and through, mental health issues will be available at the new site to provide practical advice, coping skills, and peer support, in partnership with colleagues from Solent NHS, Portsmouth City Council, and the voluntary sector.

Malcolm Barrett, Director of Quality & Improvement at Solent Mind, said: “We’re delighted to share our knowledge, expertise and the power of our own lived experiences to support others in Portsmouth.

“We know that one in four people may experience a mental health problem in any year, which means that accessible, convenient and collaborative wellbeing services like PositiveMinds are so important to communities.”

Sarah Austin, chief operating officer at Solent NHS Trust, said: “I am so proud to be part of this exciting new development in the city.

“This is an excellent example of the way that organisations are working in partnership to bring services together into one place, for the benefit of people in the city – including our armed forces community. We are so grateful for the support we have received from everyone involved, including the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund and also from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.”

Dr Nick Moore, mental health commissioning lead for NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “As a GP I know all too well that there are large numbers of people out there who are really struggling with their mental or emotional health.

“In the past, people in that situation might either suffer in silence until they reach a crisis point, or go to their GP when actually we might not be able to give them the help they need. Sometimes people need to talk to someone who understands what they are going through, who can give them time, and get them in touch with the help and advice they need. That is what we hope PositiveMinds will do.”

The service will open mainly during normal office hours* over the Christmas period, but from 2 January, 2020 it will be open Mondays to Fridays 12.30pm – 7.30pm, and Saturdays 10.30am – 1.30pm. PositiveMinds can be reached by calling (023) 92824795, and the service’s website will be www.positivemindsportsmouth.org.uk.

PositiveMinds is a partnership between Solent Mind, Solent NHS Trust, NHS Portsmouth CCG, and Portsmouth City Council. It is funded by the local NHS, the city council, and Armed Forces grants.

Please note: PositiveMinds is designed to help a wide range of people, but it is not a crisis service or a “mental health A&E”. If anyone needs help urgently they should call NHS 111 or the Samaritans on 116 123. If there is an immediate risk to someone’s safety, please dial 999.

*Christmas opening hours:
December 23: 9am – 5pm
December 24: 9am – 4pm
December 25-26: Closed
December 27: 9am – 5pm
December 28-29: Closed
December 30: 9am – 5pm
December 31: 9am – 4pm
January 1: Closed

From January 2 onwards, normal opening hours will be:
Mondays-Fridays: 12.30pm – 7.30pm
Saturdays: 10.30am – 1.30pm

NHS 111 – make the smarter call

The NHS 111 service in Portsmouth has changed, and is now supported by more GPs.

The enhanced service – a partnership with the Portsmouth Primary Care Alliance – means more doctors are available to assess patients calling for help or advice. The early results are hugely positive, with more people than before having their case reviewed by primary care professionals, which means more people getting the right service for them.

This service is available until 10pm every day – so whether you need help in the day, the evening, or at weekends, phoning NHS 111 can get you the help you need.

Remember – just because your local surgery is closed, that doesn’t mean GPs or other healthcare professional can’t be reached, or appointments can’t be made, if you need one.

Make the smart call: 111.

Free mental health and wellbeing training

Connect 5 mental health training

If you work with Portsmouth residents and would like to learn more about how you can have conversations with people about their mental health and wellbeing, there’s a free training opportunity available.

Connect 5, the accredited mental health promotion training programme, is delivered in three parts. Session one is a half day where you’ll build the skills and confidence to talk with people about their mental health and wellbeing as well as understanding self-help tools and services available. Sessions two and three are full days providing more in-depth skills and knowledge for those working closely with people experiencing poor mental health.

The next available dates are:
• Session one: Thursday 16 January – pm
• Session two: Thursday 23 January
• Session three: Thursday 6 February

All three sessions will take place at the Civic Offices in Portsmouth.

For more information or to book contact Jan Byng on 023 92 294001 (option 2) or email janet.byng@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

New date for Portsmouth Learning Disabilities Celebration and Learning Event

There’s a new date for the Portsmouth Learning Disabilities Celebration and Learning Event that was scheduled to take place on Friday 8 November 2019.

It will now be happening on Friday 24 January 2020 – visit the event page to find out more.