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Groundbreaking trans health service making a difference to lives in Sefton

A dedicated trans health service is providing medical support and guidance for residents across Sefton.

Trans Health Sefton was set up in 2017 by Sefton’s two former Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) before they became part of NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, which now funds the service, in 2022. It was designed with the support of patients and healthcare professionals, to provide medical support for people whose gender identity is different from their assigned gender at birth.

Dr Anna Ferguson and Jenny Owen receive the award
Dr Anna Ferguson and Jenny Owen receive the award

Award winning

The service has been recognised as the first of its kind and won an award in the Primary Care Innovation category at the National Healthcare Transformation Awards in 2019.

Based at Bootle Strand, Trans Health Sefton has proved to be a great success with trans residents in the local community, with one patient saying: “I don’t think that I can imagine better care.”

Speaking about the service, Dr Anna Hunter, Service Lead for Trans Health Sefton said: “Trans health is so often overlooked, and it leaves people not knowing where to turn to get the support they need.

“I started Trans Health Sefton to provide a safe space for people who are struggling with their gender identity or whose gender differs from what they were assigned at birth.

“It has been incredibly rewarding to help patients of all ages and to be there for them as they take the brave steps to being who they want to be.”

Support and guidance

Anyone who is registered with a Sefton GP can be referred to Trans Health Sefton. This referral can be made by a healthcare professional or via a self-referral through the practice.

Following referral and assessment, Trans Health Sefton can support patients with care planning, assistance with hormone therapy treatment, administrative tasks such as making a legal name change. It can also help with guidance for patients and their families.

The service works closely with health and support organisations across the region to signpost residents to the best and most appropriate healthcare available to them.

You can find out more about Trans Health Sefton, here. 

Making a difference

Anna added: “Trans Health Sefton is a real example of grass roots innovation and co-design, where service users and voluntary, community and faith organisations worked together with medical and other health professionals to develop the service.

“We are proud of the work our service has done and the difference it has made.

“It has been so successful that our assessment and treatment pathways were adopted in 2020 as a pilot for gender identity clinics across the country.”

Anthony Griffin, chair of Sefton based trans non-binary and intersex support group In-Trust and who played a central role in the design of the service, said: “Looking back over the last few years on the overwhelming success of Trans Health Sefton, it’s important to remember there is much still to be done, so that this important service is available across the region.

“Now more than ever the former Sefton CCG are to be commended for ensuring the future of this unique service.”

Councillor Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “It is deeply important to us at Sefton Council along with our partners in health and care that all of our residents have access to the right level of healthcare.

“We are delighted to have Trans Health Sefton providing life-changing care for residents in Sefton and I’m sure it will continue to go from strength to strength.”

You can find out more about Trans Health Sefton, here. 

Some reminders on how to break the habit in Sefton for national No Smoking Day

Road sign saying 'Quit Smoking'
(Alpha Stock Images –

To mark national No Smoking Day on Wednesday 8th March, Sefton Council is reminding people about Smokefree Sefton, which can help people across the Borough break the habit.

Anyone of any age

Anyone of any age who lives, works or studies in Sefton and wants to stop smoking can contact Smokefree Sefton or get a reference through their GP.

Support is also available to anyone, including parents and carers, who is concerned about young people who are smoking or vaping. Information and advice are available by telephone, text and email and there are resource packs as well as information for schools.

1-to-1 help

Young people can speak to specialist advisors and 1-to-1 help is available in in schools, youth clubs, sports clubs, or any venue that works with young people. There are also training sessions for people professionals who work with young people, so that they can offer advice.

You can find out more about Smokefree Sefton here.

The freephone number to call Smokefree Sefton is 0300 100 1000.

Life-saving lung check-up 

People aged 55 to 74 in south Sefton with a history of smoking and registered with a local GP surgery are being invited to take part in a ground-breaking lung check-up scheme, which has already saved hundreds of lives across England.

NHS England’s Lung Health Check programme, which targets those most at risk of lung cancer, has improved significantly the earlier detection of the disease. Within the Merseyside and Cheshire region, targeted lung health checks have identified 111 lung cancers so far, of which, 68.5% were at stage 1. This has enabled 74 people diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer to receive curative treatment.


Cllr Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at Sefton Council said: “The Government has said that seven years from today’s No Smoking Day, in 2030, smoking prevalence in England will have been reduced to 5% of the adult population or below, but unfortunately the country will not reach that target until 2039.

“In Sefton, we are working to make every single day a No Smoking Day when someone gives up the habit. I know how difficult it is so would encourage people to find out more about the excellent range of support that is available through Smokefree Sefton.

“And I would also urge older, former smokers in the South Sefton area to take advantage of the NHS England’s Lung Health Check programme, even if they feel well. The vast majority of those who have a scan will be fine but for the few who do have something wrong, spotting it early can make all the difference.”

People can find out more about the Lung Health Check programme here. 

‘Living Well’ bus is returning to Sefton In March offering COVID vaccinations and free health checks

Living Well BusThe ‘Living Well’ bus is calling at Bootle, Birkdale and Litherland in March.

Catch up

During its visits, Sefton residents can catch a free NHS health check and catch up on first and second COVID-19 vaccines, as well as third primary doses for those who are immunosuppressed. Operating as a drop-in service, the bus offers a range of physical health checks, COVID-19 vaccinations, and referrals to talking therapies.

The bus will be at the following locations from 10:30am-4pm and no appointments are needed:

  • Tuesday 7 March – LIDL car park, Marsh Lane, Bootle, L20 5BQ
  • Saturday 18 March – Park Hotel, Weld Road, Birkdale, Southport, PR8 2ED
  • Friday 24 March – LIDL car park, Wellington Road, Litherland, Bootle, L21 6PD

You can find out more about the COVID-19 vaccine, who is eligible, and to book an appointment online or find other walk-in vaccination sites on the NHS website here.

Consistent care

The Living Well bus service, which is delivered by the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. It was launched in June 2022 to offer a consistent health and care approach across communities across Cheshire and Merseyside. All activity is recorded and shared with your GP, ensuring ongoing understanding and support for your health is in place.

People can find out more about the service on the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust website.



Local Offer Live event will bring together Sefton services that work with children and families with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Sefton Council teams will be out in force next week as they head down to Local Offer Live, at Aintree Racecourse on Wednesday 1st March.

Council teams will be joined by colleagues from health services, third sector and voluntary organisations as well as specialist charities to learn more about each other and offer information about their services to people in Sefton.


The event, organised by Sefton Parent Carer Forum, is a chance to bring together services from across Sefton who work with children and families with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

The event will be held at Aintree Racecourse on March 1st.  Families are invited to drop in anytime between 9.30am to 6pm. It will be a very informal market place style event where parents can gather information at their own pace and to have some of their questions answered. Parents will have the opportunity to speak to any service provider that may be involved with their child and to find out more about services they may not know of.

Attendees will include: Sefton Parent Carer Forum, NHS/ MerseyCare, Alder Hey, Sefton Adult Learning Services, Sefton Children’s Services, Sefton CVS.


Cllr Diane Roscoe, Cabinet Member for Education in Sefton said: “Our teams are looking forward to meeting our families and chatting through how we can best support them.

“Events like these are inspiring as everyone in the room has the same passion for overcoming challenges and supporting children and families with SEND better.

“I hope our families will get the time to attend and learn more about the huge range of services on offer in Sefton.”

Keen to listen

 Jenny Grimes, clinical lead for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital said: “Health professionals from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital will be on hand to talk with families about the range of health services available, including child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), speech and language, occupational therapy, dietetics, and physiotherapy, and how to access them.

“We are keen to listen to families and learn about their experiences and are grateful to Sefton Parent Carer Forum for organising the event.”

Sefton Parent Carer Forum

Sefton Parent Carer Forum – is a group of parents and carers of disabled children who work with the  local authority, education, health and other providers to make sure the services they plan and deliver meet the needs of disabled children and families.

They listen to the views of other parents in the local area to make sure they know what is important to them.

They run workshops, information days, coffee mornings and craft sessions as well as one day special events on a regular basis throughout the year and provide regular information to help increase parental knowledge via social media.

They are based at Cambridge Family Well Being Centre Monday, Wednesdays, Fridays – Term time. Cambridge Road, Bootle, L20 9LQ.

For more information on Local Offer Live, please contact Sefton Parent Carer Forum at


Merseyrail joins Samaritans to remind passengers that small talk can save lives

Station signMerseyrail has joined Samaritans to remind people travelling on its network that we all have the potential to be lifesavers by simply striking up a conversation.

Small Talk Saves Lives aims to let people know it’s normal to feel anxious about starting a conversation and making small talk. You might worry about saying the wrong thing – but having the confidence to act could help save a life.

Simple question

A little small talk and a simple question like “Hi, where can I get a coffee?” can be all it takes to interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts and could help set them on the journey to recovery.

Research from Samaritans revealed that only 50% of UK adults said they would feel confident approaching and speaking to someone they don’t know if they were concerned about them in public. The survey also suggested that we’re more comfortable behind a screen as a nation, as people would much prefer chatting to someone they don’t know on the phone (33%) or by email (18%), compared to face-to-face (9%).

Of those who said they wouldn’t feel confident approaching someone they don’t know, the top reasons holding them back were ‘worrying the person wouldn’t welcome their approach’ (44%) and ‘worrying they’d make things worse’ (29%), whilst a quarter said ‘not knowing what to say’ was also a concern.  

Path to recovery

So, Samaritans is relaunching its Small Talk Saves Lives campaign today, in partnership with Merseyrail, Network Rail, British Transport Police and the wider rail industry. A new film across digital and social media reassures the public that a little small talk like ‘where can I get a coffee?’ can be all it takes to interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts and help set them on a path to recovery.

Samaritans’ volunteers across the country will also be heading to their local stations to host outreach events. Samaritans’ volunteers will be joined by Merseyrail staff at Ormskirk station on Thursday 23 February (08:00-10:00), speaking to passengers about the campaign, highlighting the power of talking and providing myth busting leaflets to help ease any concerns they may have.


Julie Bentley, Samaritans CEO said: “It’s normal to feel anxious about starting a conversation with someone you don’t know in person, but at Samaritans we know first-hand how life-changing that conversation could be. Suicidal thoughts are often temporary and there’s no evidence to suggest that you will make the situation worse – it’s about trusting your instincts, starting a conversation, and showing you care. We know it’s been a really challenging time for people’s mental health over the last few years, so we hope the Small Talk Saves Lives campaign builds that confidence and remind the public of the difference they can make. Let’s continue to look out for one another – it could save a life.”

Simple skills

James Smith, acting HR director for Merseyrail, said: “We’re really proud to be working in partnership with Samaritans again on this important campaign to help raise awareness of the power of small talk. It’s so important we continue look out for one another, as we all have the simple skills which could save a life.”

Launched in 2017, Small Talk Saves Lives was developed after research showed the positive part the public could play in suicide prevention. The campaign is backed by suicide prevention expert Dr Lisa Marzano from Middlesex University.


Dr Marzano said: “In our latest research we spoke to those who had made and received interventions themselves and they really echoed the main Small Talk Saves Lives message. We heard how powerful it can be to use small talk or to ask simple questions, in a calm manner. We also found reassuring results around teamwork and the fact that you don’t have to manage this alone – you could speak to a member of staff or call 999 in an emergency too.”

You can more information and tips about the SmallTalkSavesLives campaign here.

Or join the conversation on social media using #SmallTalkSavesLives.

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