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

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.”


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

Have your say on NHS dental services in Portsmouth

As you may know, the Colosseum dental group recently ended three of its contracts to provide NHS dental services in Portsmouth – leaving hundreds of patients without a dentist.

NHS England is responsible for buying NHS dental services and is planning to put in place some new long-term contracts to provide more dental services in the city to replace those where contracts have ended.

NHS England want to make sure that the new services take into account what is most important to you when using NHS dental services. Please share your views by completing the online survey on the NHS engagement website.

If you would prefer to complete the survey in writing or need the information in a different language please call 0113 824 9119 or email

The survey closes on Monday 21 October 2019.

Please do share this survey with your friends and family who live in Portsmouth.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) give glowing report on city’s SEND services

Strong leadership and co-production praised in the inspection of support for children and young people with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) in city.

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) recently reviewed Special Education and Disability (SEND) services across the city to look at how well the needs of children & young people with SEND are met. They reported that: “strong leadership in the local area is leading to the successful implementation of SEND reforms; with leaders’ well-constructed plans for further improvement successfully encouraging a collaborative approach.” Inspectors said that “leaders ensure that young children have access to the support they need to get a good start in life, with one leader commenting that – ‘in Portsmouth, we work together to make things happen’.”

Co-production was also highlighted in the inspection report as being “developed well in the local area: The ‘shaping better futures together’ co-production group [of parents and carers] is well organised and has a secure understanding of what it wants to achieve.” Ofsted commented that “co-production with young people is successfully promoted through the young person’s ‘Dynamite’ group which is helping to develop valuable skills in its young members, who are improving outcomes for themselves and others.”

The inspection looked at partnership working and said that “collaboration with health services and joint commissioning in Portsmouth is effective and close working between hospital and community physiotherapists is leading to a co-ordinated and consistent approach to care”.

Inspectors commented that: “Children and young people with SEND have speedy access to the help and support they need without having to wait for a formal diagnosis. There is a well understood strategy to become a ‘needs led city’. Professionals across education, health and care work well in a joined-up way and education health and care (EHC) plans are competed in a timely manner” – with 99.5% completed on time.

Mental health provision for children and young people was also praised: “Children and young people receive helpful support in school for their emotional well-being. CAMHS work flexibily to offer training supervision and consultation to professionals across health and social care and the CAHMS drop-in clinic is popular and well-used. Those who need additional support have access to mental health services and most children and young people receive effective SEND support in school.”

The inspection team commented on SEND provision in schools and said that “children and young people with SEND are starting to attend school more regularly. Absence and persistent absence rates for children receiving SEND support are reducing over time. Overall educational outcomes for children and young people receiving SEND support and those with EHC plans are improving and school leaders value the work of the Portsmouth Education Partnership.

Parents told inspectors that ‘the annual review is the highlight of the year’ and that parents value the positive celebration of children’s achievements and the involvement of children and young people in the SEND review process.

When it comes to leaving school inspectors found that young people with EHC plans have a “positive transition from school to college”. Young people attending mainstream and specialist education settings told inspectors that they are confident that the right help will continue to be available to them as they move on to college; and day care opportunities in adult services are person centred and focus on building personal skills.”

Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Education at Portsmouth City Council said:

“I’m glad that inspectors have praised so highly our SEND offer; especially the strength of our partnership working with health services, parents and the young people themselves – which puts their needs at the forefront of the services we are shaping.

“We welcome the areas that have been identified for further development. We’re working on the things we’d like to be doing better at, and have incorporated these into our SEND strategy.

“We’re delighted with the strong, positive feedback from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission of the city’s SEND services.”

Natalie Abraham, Portsmouth Parent Voice manager said:

“We represent parents in the city; we are also parents of children and young people with SEN and Disabilities and therefore know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of SEND services and PPV tell it like it is! The views of parent carers are listened to, valued and responded to in Portsmouth. It’s an ever-evolving partnership with health, education and social care to create and deliver better services for the children and young people who need it.”

Carly Blake (young person representative) Dynamite said:

“It’s good that young people in Portsmouth get their voices heard, and that local authorities listen to our thoughts and opinions about different services used by people with special needs and disabilities.”

Linda Collie, the GP clinical lead for NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“I very much welcome what is, in general, an extremely positive report which highlights the closely-co-ordinated efforts all those involved have made to provide the very best services we can for children and young people in the city, including those young people who themselves are helping to shape the services.

“A number of health schemes have been highlighted as ‘strengths’ in the report, such as the mental health nurse initiative as part of the NHS 111 service and the health-related absence project in schools. But there are one or two areas we need to work on to improve the NHS performance – such as achieving more consistency among our GP practices with regard to annual health checks for young people with learning disabilities and the transition arrangements between paediatric and adult health services.”

Neil Smith of Solent NHS Trust and Designated Clinical Officer for Portsmouth SEND said:

“It’s really pleasing that the feedback from the inspection was so positive. I feel it deservedly reflects the hard work and dedication that takes place across Portsmouth city on a daily basis.

“Strong leadership and coproduction genuinely includes children and their families by putting them at the heart of everything we do. I’m extremely proud to be part of it all.”

For more information about SEND provision in the city and the read the full report, please visit:

Coverage for eConsult is now nearly city-wide

Nearly 190,000 patients registered with GP practices across Portsmouth now have access to a fast-response online consultation in a bid to improve access to patient services.

Twelve of Portsmouth’s 15 GP practices have introduced eConsult – which involves the GP practice responding to online enquiries, usually within 48 hours, often saving patients the need to book routine appointments.

It is planned that the remaining three practices will have gone live by the end of March 2020.

To access the service, patients simply go on to their GP practice website, visit the online services and choose an option about whether they want help for their condition, administrative help or general advice. This may involve online advice direct from their GP.

The questions are the same ones a GP would ask in a face-to-face appointment.

The practice will assess to see if they can give the patient self-care advice, or whether an appointment is required or the patient needs a prescription which could be sent to direct to the local pharmacist.

Early patient feedback showed that more than three in four of patients who had used eConsult in Portsmouth were very satisfied with the service.

Using eConsult frees up the doctors’ time to see those patients who most need an appointment. People often have simple questions that can be answered by email – giving patients re-assuring and faster advice than waiting for an appointment.

Dr Elizabeth Fellows, a GP at the East Shore Partnership who chairs NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “eConsult is making a big difference to patients – by giving them the chance to have a consultation from the comfort of their home and saving them having to phone or come to the surgery.

“It allows them to get their tests arranged first, then perhaps a routine appointment becoming far more of a one-stop approach, which makes it a much better experience for everyone concerned.

“Patients also get signposted to the most appropriate service for them at the first point of contact – rather than attending an appointment to be told they need to go somewhere else.

“eConsult eases pressure on GPs by reducing the number of patients who are asking for appointments. It is particularly making a real difference to our workload on Monday mornings, when the demand is highest both for our services and for people calling us by phone.”

Two recent feedback comments to the East Shore Partnership about the service were:

–       “I was able to arrange the test I needed without having to waste a GP appointment.  I have a follow up appointment with a doctor in a couple of weeks.”

–       “This is a brilliant, time saving alternative to a face to face appointment. A reassuring service.”

New resources launched for World Suicide Prevention Day 2019

The Public Health team in Portsmouth City Council has created two new leaflets ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on 10th September 2019. One offers advice on looking after your own mental health and the second provides guidance on supporting someone else with their mental health.

Getting people to take the same care of their mental health as they would their physical health is important in helping prevent people reaching crisis point. The leaflets will be available from places including libraries, community centres, housing offices, Family Hubs, pharmacies and GP surgeries. They’re also available online at

These new leaflets complement the crisis card, which was produced for World Suicide Prevention Day last year. The crisis card lists services that can support someone with issues that have been shown to be key contributors to suicide, for example debt, bereavement and substance misuse. The crisis cards are fold-out wallet sized guides that are available at venues across the city and can be found on

In addition, Public Health in partnership with the University of Portsmouth will be running free safeTALK suicide alertness training for employees from Portsmouth businesses. SafeTALK is a half-day session that prepares anyone 15 or older, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper. SafeTALK trained helpers can recognise the signs that someone might be having suicidal thoughts and can connect them with life-saving interventions. This training will take place on Monday 30 September, 1.30-4.00pm, at the University of Portsmouth. There are 20 spaces available. To find out more or to book a place please email

Cllr Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care at Portsmouth City Council, said; “I’m pleased to be marking World Suicide Prevention Day with some new materials that should help people look after their own mental wellbeing and support others that might be struggling with poor mental health. It’s so important that we continue to encourage people to talk more openly about mental health and to seek help if they’re having difficulties. By doing this we can hopefully reduce the number of people who feel that ending their life is the only way to escape the pain that they’re feeling.”

CCG leads way with latest electronic prescription upgrade live in all GP practices

Portsmouth has become the first area in the country where GP prescriptions for all patients can be sent electronically.

NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been piloting the latest improvement to the Electronic Prescription Services (EPS) Phase 4.

This allows GP prescriptions for all patients to be sent using the more efficient digital system and not just those who have chosen a regular nominated dispenser.

EPS saves the NHS time and money by reducing the amount of paper processing required by GPs, pharmacists and the NHS Business Services Authority.

Portsmouth CCG is the first in the country to have 100 per cent of their GP practices able to use EPS. Once the NHS Digital system is rolled out across England, it is estimated it will save the NHS £130m a year.

Patients see little or no change to the process of being prescribed medicines by their GP, or how they request and collect them from their community pharmacy. Those without a nominated pharmacy still receive a paper copy of their prescription listing what has been prescribed, but this will also contain a barcode. Pharmacy staff will then scan the barcode to download their electronic prescription from the secure NHS database – the NHS Spine. Patients with a nominated pharmacy will still have their prescriptions sent electronically without needing a paper copy.

Simon Cooper, Director of Medicines Optimisation for the CCG, said: “Implementing EPS Phase 4 across the city has been a very straightforward process for us and we are already beginning to see the benefits.

“Moving from what was essentially a paper-driven process to an approach which is primarily digitally-focused means much greater efficiency for our GP practices and dispensing pharmacies in terms of time and accuracy, and this can only be positive for patients, too.

“It’s also helping to create a much more accurate picture for us in terms of assessing prescribing data, which we can now do more quickly and with a greater degree of confidence in the information we are reviewing.”

Richard Ashcroft, Programme Director for Medicines and Pharmacy at NHS Digital, said: “This is a major step forward for patients, GPs and pharmacists. Portsmouth CCG have worked hard to introduce EPS Phase 4 and we look forward to other areas of the country following their lead soon.

“Every single prescription that is sent electronically, rather than via paper, saves money for the NHS as less time and valuable resource is spent processing and storing the paper prescriptions.”

Benefits of EPS Phase 4

  • fewer paper prescriptions will result in a more efficient, faster and secure process, saving the NHS time and money
  • an electronic system means prescriptions can’t be lost and GPs don’t need to sign replacements
  • clinicians will be able to keep track of the progress and status of prescriptions using the EPS Prescription Tracker.

Hospital, NHS Solent Trust and PPCA  scripts can’t be sent by EPS.

A Safe Space on a night out in Portsmouth

Safe Space at the Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre is open every Friday and Saturday night, 10 pm to 3 am and on special days such as New Year’s Eve. This year the service will also run every night throughout Fresher’s Week, and will be open from the 13– 21 September 2019 (including the usual Friday and Saturday opening hours).

Safe Space provides an all-round health and wellbeing service as well as a safe place for anyone who is looking for a short respite on a night out and can help individuals contact friends and or family if they have any health or safety concerns.

Run by South Central Ambulance Service clinicians provide on-the-spot medical assistance to those who need it, to advice on subjects like sexual health, alcohol and drug use, or even personal safety. The Safe Space team can also signpost visitors to other services such as minor injuries units, out of hours GP services and mental health crisis teams.

Safe Space has proven to be a valuable asset and has had a real impact on the number of ambulance crews called to the busy town centre, in some cases for pavement side ‘see and treats’ that often don’t require a visit to the emergency department.

Over the years Safe Space has also built relationships with other agencies such as the Street Pastors, Hampshire Constabulary as well as the pubs and clubs who depend on the service. In 2018/19 alone there were 397 recorded visitors to Safe Space with some form of injury being recorded as the most common reason for being seen. The majority of people seen were in the 20-29 age bracket. Overall the service estimates to have saved 167 ambulance call outs to the City Centre during 2018/19.

Portsmouth’s Safe Space is one of many alcohol intoxication management services (AIMS) but has the ambition to break free from this label of that and do far more towards improving the health and wellbeing of all those visiting Portsmouth on a Friday and Saturday night who are in need of help or advice at a time when other avenues of care may not be available.