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.

Positive news about “PositiveMinds”

Sarah Austin, chief operating officer for Solent NHS Trust, Dr Nick Moore, mental health lead for NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group, Kevin Gardner, chief executive officer for Solent Mind, at the PositiveMinds site.

It’s full steam ahead for a new-style service in Portsmouth, supporting people facing struggles with their mental or emotional health.

Planning permission has been granted for the “PositiveMinds” project, and work is now underway to get the premises just off Middle Street, Southsea ready to offer support and advice to those needing extra help coping with difficult periods in their lives.

The new service is the result of a partnership between the NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Solent NHS Trust, Portsmouth City Council, and Solent Mind – which will provide the majority of the staff and services based at the site.

The new service will look and feel different to traditional NHS care. PositiveMinds will feature a combination of trained Wellbeing Advisors who have lived experience of mental health difficulties, and healthcare professionals, as well as access to advice about other issues which can often affect people’s mental health – such as housing or debt. Portsmouth residents will be able to phone or email the service, and will have the option to book appointments or drop-in.

PositiveMinds will be open to all adults in the city, and will also include specific help for veterans and their families, and trained therapists from the Talking Change service.

Dr Nick Moore, a Portsmouth GP and mental health lead for NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “I’m delighted that, as we mark World Mental Health Day, we can confirm that it is now all systems go to get PositiveMinds up and running in Portsmouth.

“We are fortunate to have a range of brilliant mental health services here in the city, but this service will be a truly important addition to that. As a GP, I see people every day who need to talk to someone who can help them, who knows what they are going through, and who can put them in touch with invaluable support and advice to help them cope with the stresses they are facing. We hope that PositiveMinds can provide that welcoming first port of call for many people who might be struggling to reach out and get the help they need.”

Sarah Austin, chief operating officer for Solent NHS Trust, said: “I am so pleased that this new service will be open soon for the benefit of our Portsmouth citizens – it provides an important option for people who are unsure where to go for help.

“I am also delighted that it will provide a specific service for our armed forces veterans and their families, provided by those who truly understand the specific concerns of those who have served.”

Kevin Gardner, chief executive officer at Solent Mind, added: “This World Mental Health Day serves as a reminder to us all of the vital role mental health and wellbeing services play, with 1 in 4 of us experiencing issues with our mental health.

“Positive Minds will be an exciting addition to the services available across Portsmouth, helping people develop the skills and confidence to manage their own wellbeing, and inspiring hope for recovery and a better future.”

Ends

Notes for editors:

  • In 2019, World Mental Health Day is on 10 October.
  • PositiveMinds is a collaboration between Solent Mind, NHS Solent Trust, Portsmouth City Council and NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group.
  • Once open, the service can be accessed by people being ‘signposted’ there by GPs or other practice staff, or by simply turning up.
  • It is intended to provide support to people facing a wide range of problems, but is not primarily intended to be a crisis point, or a new ‘mental health A&E’.
  • People will be able to access one-to-one or group support, workshops, life coaching, or Talking Change counsellors.
  • There will also be links to other, non-health support such as housing advice, citizens’ advice, or social prescribing.
  • The Armed Forces Covenant is funding some veteran-specific support, for those people – and their families – who have left the forces and may need additional support.
  • When it opens, PositiveMinds will be available noon-8pm on Mondays-Fridays, and 10am-2pm on Saturdays.

Award-winning partnerships

NHS organisations working in the city are sharing a trophy, in recognition of the way they work together in the city.

NHS Portsmouth CCG and NHS Solent Trust are the proud recipients of the ‘innovative partnering’ award, given out at the recent HFMA South Central conference in Reading.

The award recognises the successful development of a joint four-year plan between the two organisations, which supports the delivery of the transformation of community and mental health services within a shared financial framework.

CCG’s chief finance officer Michelle Spandley said: “This is a tremendously welcome recognition of the work we are doing with Solent, and I hope that everyone involved is proud of the work we have been doing – they certainly should be.

“The way we have been working together demonstrates a real commitment to transforming and developing services for the benefit of our population.”

The CCG’s chief finance officer Michelle Spandley (left), next to Solent’s Finance Business Partner Kirsty Williams, receiving the award