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New talking therapies provider launches service to support thousands across Sefton

Mental Health Matters (MHM) has successfully launched Talking Matters Sefton. Talking Matters Sefton is the new name for the support service that borough residents can access for help with their mental wellbeing.

Developed in partnership with NHS South Sefton and NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Groups, the service ensures that patients can continue to access high-quality talking therapies as conveniently as possible, which is more important than ever in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its impact on mental wellbeing.

Talking Matters Sefton (TMS) is designed to help anyone aged over 16 in the borough, to deal with common mental health difficulties. These may include depression, anxiety, panic, phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or post-traumatic stress disorder. Staffed by a team of highly skilled mental health professionals, the service is focused on delivering a person-centred approach to help people achieve positive outcomes.

Individuals looking to access support from the service can self-refer online, via email, or over the phone. Referrals can also be made through a Sefton GP.

Those that were accessing the previous talking therapies service have been contacted to confirm that they can expect a consistent level of care and continuity of support.

Victoria Malone, Head of Talking Matters at MHM, said: “We are proud to be running Talking Matters Sefton and to be able to support those in need. Our priorities are to deliver a high-quality service to those already accessing support and to reach out to people across the community, to ensure that residents know that we are here to help during difficult times”.

 

Dr Hilal Mulla, mental health lead for NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Mental Health Matters has worked hard to ensure that existing patients won’t notice any difference to the high quality of support they receive from professionals as a result of the organisation taking over the running of our talking therapies service on 1 January, so services continue to be there for our residents when they need them.”

Dr Sue Gough, mental health lead for NHS South Sefton CCG, added: “Talking therapies provide a range of support for our residents who’re experiencing common mental health issues and these services are particularly important as we deal with the impact of COVID-19.

“We would encourage anyone experiencing things like stress, anxiety or depression to make contact with Talking Matters Sefton, it’s easy to do and the skilled team of professionals can really help.”

Mental Health Matters is a third sector organisation providing a wide range of support to people with mental health needs offering a welcoming, safe, comfortable, non-judgmental, and non-clinical environment.

MHM has experience in successfully delivering IAPT services for over 12 years and continue to leverage their wealth of experience and clinical best practice to expand services and reach more patients in need.

Learn more: https://www.mhm.org.uk/

Help with taking steps towards a healthier 2021

On Friday 1st January, a new talking therapies service is launching to help anyone aged over 16 in the South Sefton, Southport and Formby areas to deal with common mental health difficulties.

Talking Matters Sefton has been developed in partnership with the CCGs to offer easy access to high-quality talking therapies. You can self-refer online or by phone, or your GP can make a referral. The Covid-19 pandemic has made 2020 an incredibly challenging year for us all. With the vaccine rollout underway, we have reason to be hopeful for 2021. By making some small changes, you can get the New Year off to a healthier start and take control of your wellbeing.

Statistics show that a quarter of patients who died with coronavirus in England had diabetes, and people who are overweight or smoke are also at much higher risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from the disease.

Margaret Jones, Director of Public Health for Sefton, said: “This year has been tough for everyone, and it hasn’t always been easy for any of us to stay motivated or make healthy choices. If you want to make a change, you do not have to do it alone. Living Well Sefton is a free service that can support you in living a healthier lifestyle. You can call them on 0300 323 0181 or e-mail LWS@seftoncvs.org.uk.”

Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Making changes to your lifestyle can feel overwhelming at times, and sometimes it might feel easier to just do nothing. There is plenty of support available and making little adjustments, such as exercising more, eating a healthier diet and quitting smoking really can have a big impact on how you feel. It isn’t just about looking after your body, living a healthier life can boost your mental health too. If you’re feeling low, getting active could make a huge difference to your mood.”

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Making changes to your lifestyle can not only help improve your physical and mental health, but it can also help protect you from becoming seriously unwell with Covid-19. Consider taking a Vitamin D supplement during the winter months, as it is difficult to get enough of that during the shorter daylight hours. Vitamin D helps to control the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies – needed for healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. Eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, combined with getting active and staying connected with people can all help to improve your health – both physically and mentally.”

Information and support:

  • Living Well Sefton is a free service supporting people in Sefton with issues that may be affecting their health and wellbeing.
  • Talking Matters Sefton (launching 1 January 2021) provides talking therapies to anyone aged over 16 living in Sefton.
  • NHS Live Well and NHS Better Health offer support and resources to help you make the best choices about your health and wellbeing.
  • Every Mind Matters and One You offer expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental and physical health

Live map now shows Sefton’s SMART COVID testing site details including likely waiting times

Bootle Map
Details of Bootle Leisure Centre SMART testing site shown on location map.

Sefton residents with NO coronavirus symptoms planning on getting a COVID-19 test can now find details of the Borough’s SMART test sites on a live map.

As well as showing the precisely location of the Bootle Leisure Centre, Southport Splash World and Aintree Racecourse sites, the NHS Find a Test Centre map also gives an indication of how busy they are and the likely waiting time. At the moment, they are all showing green with a waiting time of less than 15 minutes but if they get busier, Sefton Council will update the map to help people make a choice.

Check out the Live map here.

Details of Aintree racecourse SMART testing site shown on location map.
Details of Aintree racecourse SMART testing site shown on location map.

Each site is open from 9am to 6pm every day apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Monday 28th December and New Year’s Day. No appointments are necessary so people can just turn up.

SMART tests identify if people have COVID-19 but don’t know it because they don’t have symptoms. Results take just 30 minutes to come through.

Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health Margaret Jones has described getting a SMART test before Christmas as a way to reduce the chance of passing on the COVID-19 virus to relations who may be vulnerable to what is still a dangerous virus over Christmas.

Details of Southport Splash World SMART testing site shown on location map.
Details of Southport Splash World SMART testing site shown on location map.

She said she understand why people might be reluctant to get a test because a positive result will spoil our Christmas but it’s a question of weighing up a few days’ disappointment against the possibly devastating effects of knowing we’ve given COVID-19 to an elderly or vulnerable relative for whom infection could be very serious and even life-threatening.

“Get a test before getting together,” she added.

Read Margaret Jones’ comments in full.

Covid-19 ‘SMART’ Testing Helps Liverpool City Region Stay in Tier 2

SMART coronavirus testing’s successful roll-out to Sefton and the City Region, has helped the area stay in Tier 2 – and may help reduce restrictions further in the future.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced today (Thursday 17th December) that Liverpool City Region would stay in the Government’s Tier 2.

The leaders of the six Liverpool City Region Local Authorities and Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, are urging people to continue coming forward for the rapid SMART testing as it is repeatedly testing people who have no symptoms in a targeted way which will have significant effect during the coming weeks and months as we strive to keep the spread of virus low.

Liverpool City Region is one of the few places not in Tier 3, where anyone can turn up for rapid, regular and free testing without having symptoms of Covid-19.

Sefton and the opther five City Region councils are taking part in the extended programme which aims to use targeted testing to enable people to live more normal lives.

In addition to identifying people with the virus, who could unknowingly pass it on, regular testing will hopefully allow residents to return to the things they love – and continue to miss as a result of national and local restrictions.

In Sefton, SMART COVID-19 testing for residents who DON’T have COVID-19 symptoms is now taking place at:

  • Splash World in Southport
  • Bootle Leisure Centre
  • Aintree Racecourse.

Each site is open from 9am to 6pm every day apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Monday 28th December and New Year’s Day. No appointments necessary so you can just turn up.

“SMART” testing refers to Systematic, Meaningful, Asymptomatic, Repeated Testing, with the approach being based on the learning of the pilot in Liverpool which continues to inform how testing can be developed nationally.

Covid-19 infection rates have fallen across the city region’s 1.6 million people, now standing at around 100 per 100,000 people. At their peak in October rates were around 700 per 100,000.

Testing in this way does not mean that people should not continue to be vigilant, but the benefits of identifying those who are carrying the virus, without knowing, are already showing through.

In a joint statement today , Sefton Council leader, the Metro Mayor, Acting Mayor of Liverpool and Leaders of the other Local Authority Leaders, said: “When our region went from the highest tier into Tier 2 restrictions after the national lockdown ended, we said it was a vindication of the hard work, sacrifice and dedication of the 1.6m people who live in our region.

“Today’s announcement that we are to continue in Tier 2 is a credit to all of those people that acted responsibly to help reduce our transmission rates. Now is not the time to be complacent.

“Tier 2 is not without restrictions, but it does mean that people are able to enjoy a more ordinary Christmas. We cannot afford to undo all the hard work and sacrifice that people have made over the past few weeks.

“It is really important that we remain vigilant, celebrate responsibly and safely, especially if we are to avoid more severe restrictions in the new year. So please keep following the advice, get tested and keep each other safe.

“Coronavirus is the worst present you can give anybody this Christmas, so please look out for each other.”

Director of Testing and Mass Vaccination for Cheshire & Merseyside, Terry Whalley, said: “SMART is a huge opportunity for the Liverpool City Region and I’ve no doubt that the unprecedented amount of testing we’ve been doing has helped us get the R down and allowed us to stay in Tier 2. We continue to lead the way on testing those without symptoms across the region.

“I believe that targeted repeat testing, two or three times a week, of certain groups of people can make a real difference to the way we live with Covid-19 as we continue to roll out an effective vaccine.

“We can make use of SMART to be as sure as possible that we are not carrying Covid-19 to the Christmas table or spreading it to our loved ones as we enjoy the festive period.

“Together, let’s keep proving that additional testing of those without symptoms can help protect lives and livelihoods, while of course still being careful to do the basics – hands, space, face.

“Look after your family and friends this Christmas and get tested to protect them and others now and into the new year.”

Find out more about SMART testing in Sefton.

Community COVID-19 vaccination programme begins in Sefton

Sefton’s community based COVID-19 immunisation programme run by local GP practices began on Tuesday 15 December as the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history continues.

Nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, GPs and other NHS staff from across Sefton are working together to vaccinate those aged 80 and over identified as a priority group. Primary care teams have been working rapidly to set up local vaccination centres and put in place safe processes to meet the tough logistical challenges of offering the vaccination.

GP practices will be contacting their eligible patients when it is their turn to receive the vaccine.

Marilyn Cull, 85, of Southport
Marilyn Cull, 85, of Southport

Marilyn Cull, 85, of Southport, who was the first to receive the vaccine said: “I phoned the surgery back up this morning because I thought it might have been just a dream. I was lucky to be the first one to get the vaccine.

“It’s a much bigger risk not to have the vaccination. The staff were really lovely and they made me feel at ease.

“I’ve been coping well but the news about the vaccine was brilliant and I’m glad I got it done.”

Marjorie Grundy, 87, from Maghull,
Marjorie Grundy, 87, from Maghull,

Marjorie Grundy, 87, from Maghull, said: “I was delighted to get the vaccine.

“Getting it done was really straightforward. I’m looking forward to things getting back to normal.”

Charles McCoy
Charles McCoy, 83, from Maghull

Charles McCoy, 83, from Maghull, said: “I was glad to get the call. I told my boys and they said do it. Everyone who is offered should get the vaccine.

“The NHS has been fantastic through this and you can see people are working really hard to keep people safe. We should be thankful for the work they do.”

Southport GP, Dr Simon Tobin from Norwood Surgery, said: I’ve been absolutely thrilled at the uptake for the coronavirus vaccine. When we rang them, 99% of our most vulnerable patients jumped at the opportunity to have the vaccine and booked appointments immediately.

“I will be urging all our eligible patients (as well as my 84 year old father) to have the vaccine when they are offered it. They will be contacted by their own surgeries so please don’t ring them.

“Yesterday we gave many of the highest risk people in Southport the first of the two vaccinations. People were so excited and really appreciative. There was a real buzz at the vaccination centre.

“Many parts of the UK have not even started giving the vaccine yet – we’re ahead of the game.

“Our local NHS heroes have worked tirelessly to ensure that we get this vaccine out to those most at need. They deserve tremendous credit for their dedication and commitment to our population.”

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “A great deal of planning has gone on in recent weeks to get ready for the vaccination programme.

“This is an important step in our fight against coronavirus but it is vital to continue to protect yourself and others by following government guidance by washing your hands regularly, wearing a face covering and maintaining social distancing.”

Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Your NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. All eligible patients will be contacted direct when it is their turn, with an invitation to attend a vaccination appointment and details of where to go.

“It is fantastic that we are able to start delivering vaccinations in local community settings and we would like to thank the teams of primary care colleagues who are working to make this happen.”

The vaccine currently being used (Pfizer/BioNTech) has very specific storage and transportation requirements, so the initial focus from this week will be those 80 years of age and over who can visit a centre in person.

Housebound patients and care home residents will be vaccinated as soon as this is possible.

Sefton’s community COVID-19 vaccination centres are being run by groups of practices, known as primary care networks, working together with NHS Southport and Formby CCG and NHS South Sefton CCG.

Community based primary care centres are in addition to hospital hubs, which began vaccinating patients on Tuesday 8 December.

More information about the COVID-19 vaccine, including answers to a range of frequently asked questions. 

If you need help with coronavirus symptoms, please visit: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

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