Health & Wellbeing Feed

Sefton Mental Health Awareness Week

Tackling loneliness in Sefton this Mental Health Awareness Week

Leaders in Sefton are aiming to break the stigma of loneliness during Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May), by encouraging residents to open up and talk about their experiences of loneliness and how it impacts their mental health.

Long-term loneliness is closely linked to mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and isolation from loved ones. The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard for many people and those with mental health issues have seen them worsen over the last year or so. Often people feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about feelings of loneliness and how it is affecting their mental health and wellbeing.

Local leaders from Sefton Council and the NHS in Sefton are using Mental Health Awareness Week as an opportunity to encourage conversations around loneliness. They are taking to social media using the hashtag #SeftonInMind to share information on support services in Sefton that are available to all residents to support them with their mental health, feelings of loneliness, or to offer a listening ear to anyone who just needs to talk.

Fiona Taylor, chief officer of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:

“Now more than ever, many of us may recognise the feelings of loneliness and isolation, but the NHS and our support services in Sefton are here to help our residents during Mental Health Awareness Week and beyond.

“We may feel embarrassed to talk about our feelings but it’s time to break the stigma and start the conversation. You’d be surprised when you open up to others, how often you will hear ‘I’ve been there’.”

Cllr Ian Moncur, cabinet member for health and wellbeing said:

“If you’ve been feeling lonely and your mental health is suffering, you are not alone. This week is a great opportunity to reach out and talk to a friend or family member, or get help from one of our support services in Sefton.

“We can also all help to tackle loneliness in our local areas by reaching out to those who may be at more risk of isolation, such as elderly people, unpaid carers and those in our LGBTQ+ community. Just starting a conversation can really help to lift someone’s spirits and give some much needed social connection.”

To find information on mental health support services in Sefton during Mental Health Awareness Week, you can search for the hashtag #SeftonInMind or follow the Sefton Council, NHS South Sefton CCG, and NHS Southport and Formby CCG social media channels.

You can also find a list of mental health support services for adults in Sefton at: or mental health support service for children and young people at:

Mental Health Awareness Week is organised every year by the Mental Health Foundation as an opportunity for the whole of the UK to focus on achieving good mental health. Find out more about the event at:


Change for patients attending A&E at Southport hospital

Southport and Formby District General Hospital is changing how it supports people who make their own way to A&E from Monday. Southportformbydistricthospital

The change is part of a local NHS pilot scheme to help more patients be seen in the right place at the right time and is already in use at the Royal Liverpool, Aintree and Wirral’s Arrowe Park hospitals.

It builds on a national campaign which encourages people whose care needs are not an emergency – but who still need urgent care – to contact NHS 111 first so they can be seen at the best place for them.

From Monday 13 December, Southport hospital will be trialling this approach at certain times when patients attending A&E will be met by a care navigator.

They will use the same system as NHS111, supporting patients with an assessment based on their symptoms and personal information to advise on the most appropriate place for care. This could be A&E but maybe a local dentist or pharmacy, a nearby urgent care centre, or specialist service such as Sefton Sexual Health.

Care navigators will only support patients who make their own way to A&E. There will be no change for patients arriving by ambulance, or who have been referred by a GP or directed to A&E by NHS111.

Dr Kate Clark, Executive Medical Director at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, said:

“As a doctor working in A&E for many years, I know the importance of seeing people with a medical emergency as quickly as possible. A&E teams everywhere are busier than ever and we want all our patients to have the best experience possible of the NHS.

“Care navigators will support patients finding the best care for them. For patients who don’t need emergency care, this maybe an NHS service outside hospital, potentially reducing waits in hospital for those who do.”

Anyone who wants to remain in A&E will be able to do so but may also face a long wait.

Dr Clark added:

“In an emergency, you should always call 999. Where you need urgent care or medical advice, or are not sure where to go, contact NHS111 first. They will direct you to the most appropriate service. There is also lots of advice available on the NHS website for self-care options.”


Keep safe from COVID-19 and Flu

Keep safe from COVID-19 and flu with these three tips, say local health experts. Covid spikes

Health experts are encouraging people in Sefton to keep COVID-19 and flu in check with three tips to ensure you and your loved ones keep safe:

  • 1.         Get your COVID-19 and flu vaccines as soon as they are available to you, especially if you’re pregnant. For those who are eligible, COVID-19 boosters can now be pre-booked a month in advance for those who had their second jab five months ago
  • 2.         Test yourself regularly, support contact tracing and self-isolate for 10 days if positive
  • 3.         Continue to follow hands, face, space guidance

Dr Pete Chamberlain, local GP and chair of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“The best way to protect against COVID-19 and flu is to get your vaccines as soon as they are available to you and if you’ve yet to have yours, it’s never too late.”

COVID-19 booster jabs are now being offered to anyone over 40 as well as to those in high risk groups, at least six months from their second vaccine. To make it easier and more convenient to get your booster, you can pre-book your vaccine a month in advance.

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health, said:

‘While first and second vaccinations are still providing people with good levels of protection from the virus, a booster dose can give people longer term protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19. If it’s been five months since you had your second jab, you can now pre-book to have your booster in another month’s time.”

Young people aged 16 and 17 can also now book their second vaccine, at least 12 weeks after their first. In addition, children aged between 12 and 15 can have their COVID-19 jab to help protect them and their loved ones. Most aged between 12 and 15 will be offered one jab, those with a condition that means they're at high risk from COVID-19 or who live with someone who is more likely to get infections, will be offered two.

Dr Rob Caudwell, local GP and chair of NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“It’s amazing that so many people have had their COVID-19 vaccine, and we’re keen to see that success continue across all groups and for those who are eligible for the flu vaccine. Research has shown that you’re more likely to be seriously ill if you get flu and COVID-19 together at the same time. So, it’s really important you don’t delay and get your jabs as soon as they’re offered to you.”

The flu vaccine is being offered to anyone 50 or over, or who are in a high risk group including those who are pregnant to protect them and their baby, and also those who may be carers or work in frontline health and social care.

Flu vaccines are also being offered to younger people. Children from 2 to 15 and those aged up to 17 with certain health conditions can have the flu nasal spray, which is safe and effective. Parental consent is needed for children to have flu and COVID-19 vaccines. The flu vaccine is offered in school to primary and secondary school aged children. Young people aged 12-15 are also being offered the COVID-19 vaccine in school, or parents can use the National Booking Service to book an appointment for their child to receive the Covid vaccine at a community venue if they prefer.

Dr Chamberlain said:

“Children can catch and spread flu easily and older children can also catch and spread COVID-19. Vaccinating them also protects others who are vulnerable, such as older people and those with health conditions or who are pregnant. So, it is really important that parents support this by getting their children vaccinated.”

As well as getting your vaccines testing, tracing and self-isolating remain effective ways of stopping COVID-19 from spreading and preventing new variants of the virus from emerging.

Margaret Jones said:

“Taking part in regular testing, assisting in contacting others who may be infected, and self-isolating for 10 days if you test positive - even if you have been double-jabbed - will all help us to manage the virus and stop new variants emerging.”

In addition, continuing to follow ‘hands, face, space’ remains an effective way of controlling the spread of both COVID-19 and flu, even if you are fully vaccinated.

Dr Caudwell advises:

“Wash your hands regularly throughout the day and after you’ve blown your nose or been to the toilet. Wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed places, where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet. If you are meeting friends and family, if possible, meet outdoors or let fresh air in if you are meeting indoors.”

Margaret Jones adds:

“As we approach the festive season many of us may be planning on taking our children to meet friends or relatives who may be elderly or live in other parts of the country, or we may be planning activities in busy places we don’t usually go to. Therefore, the potential for further spread of COVID-19 or flu is increased. Following these tips will help to reduce the risk of catching and spreading COVID-19 and flu and help us to manage these viruses.”

For more information on flu, who can have the jab free on the NHS and where you can get the flu jab


More information about the COVID-19 booster programme and how to get your COVID-19 vaccine is available on or by calling 119.



Public consultation about hyper-acute stroke services gets underway

The NHS in Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton and West Lancashire has launched a 12-week public consultation about the proposal to establish a Comprehensive Stroke Centre at Aintree University Hospital. Stroke

The proposal aims to improve hyper-acute stroke services, which is the hospital care provided in the 72-hour period immediately after someone has a stroke.

Currently, there are hyper-acute stroke services at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Aintree University Hospital, and Southport Hospital. But with local expertise and resources spread across three sites, it can be difficult to ensure that patients get equitable access to the specialist staff, tests, equipment and procedures they need - especially in the critical three days following a stroke.

Local clinicians have developed this proposal for a single, Comprehensive Stroke Centre at Aintree University Hospital. This would bring together local hyper-acute services on the same site as The Walton Centre, which provides a specialist stroke treatment called thrombectomy.  

If the changes went ahead, it would mean that in the future all suspected stroke patients would be taken to Aintree Hospital for the first 72-hours of stroke care – even those who may have previously been treated at the Royal Liverpool Hospital or Southport Hospital.

Afterwards, up to half of patients would leave hospital to continue their recovery in their own homes with an early supported discharge team. Those not ready for discharge, would transfer one of three acute stroke rehabilitation units at either Aintree, Broadgreen, or Southport hospitals to continue their recovery.

Dr Claire Cullen, Stroke Consultant, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust explains:

“We want to give people the best chance of accessing specialist treatments for stroke, as soon as possible within that critical 72-hour window – and that’s what this proposal is all about.

“Many of us know that acting fast is extremely important when it comes to stroke – but this doesn’t just mean getting someone to the nearest hospital; it’s important that they are seen by specialist stroke staff who can provide a diagnosis and make decisions about the best treatment for that individual.

“As well as increasing the use of clot-busting and clot-removing treatments for patients, we also believe that bringing local services together would increase the number of patients who are treated on a specialist stroke ward – all of which can make a massive difference to patient outcomes.”

The proposal does not involve any reduction in the amount of NHS funding spent on stroke care locally – in fact, it would see an increase in investment. This includes an additional one-off investment of £4m to develop the new Comprehensive Stroke Centre at Aintree Hospital, and an extra £1.9m invested into running the service year on year.

Dr Paddy McDonald, Stroke Consultant, Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust said:

These proposals have been developed by the people who care for stroke patients every day, and really understand what a long-term difference quick diagnosis and treatment can make to people who have experienced a stroke.

“Some journeys to hospital would take longer but in return for quicker, more joined up care once you arrive with a better outcome for each patient.

“This is an approach that we know has already been shown to improve care for stroke patients in other parts of the country, and we believe that our local population should also have access to the very best quality of care.”  

The public can find out more about the proposals for improving hyper-acute stroke services and share their views between 22 November 2021 and 14 February 2022.

Further information and an online questionnaire are available at:

Those who would prefer to talk through their feedback, can also call (0151) 247 6406 (Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm). People can also use this number to request a paper version of the questionnaire, or information in a different language or format. They can also do this by texting: 07920 206 386 or emailing:

There will also be some public events taking place online which will provide an opportunity to hear about the changes in more detail from clinicians, and chance to give feedback as part of a small focus group.  

These sessions will be taking place on:

  • Tuesday 7th December, 1.00pm-3.00pm
  • Thursday 9th December, 6.00pm-8.00pm

People can sign up to take part in one of these sessions at:

The public consultation is being managed by NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), on behalf of five local CCGs – Knowsley, Liverpool, Southport & Formby, South Sefton, and West Lancashire.

The proposals have been developed by clinicians from the three local NHS Trusts currently involved with providing stroke care for these areas - Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust and The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust.

For more information about this public consultation, click here.


Staff nurse? It’s time to join our A&E family

Our Emergency Department is looking to welcome new nursing talent to their family at Southport and Formby District General Hospital.

Matron Jane Lawson is inviting interested Band 5 staff nurses to recruitment events on Saturday 27 November and Thursday 2 December.

She said:

“New members to the team are guaranteed a warm welcome at Southport. We are a very friendly and like to think of ourselves as an ‘A&E family’ that’s there for each other every working day.”

The Southport Emergency Department is also consistently one of the best-performing teams in the region with a growing reputation for effective and supportive team working.

As well as opportunities for development and promotion, nursing at Southport includes:

  • Twice-weekly, in-house 10-minute teaching from specialist nurses, consultants, multi-disciplinary teams, advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs), and external speakers
  • Opportunity to do peer teaching
  • Support for link roles with opportunity to do extra training specific to the specialist role
  • Triage training starting January 2022
  • Emergency care course at Liverpool John Moores University
  • Health and well-being supportCPD funding
  • Dedicated practice educator and trauma a specialist nurse for extra training
  • Structured three-year development for those new to ED nursing 

The recruitment events will be held at the Clinical Education Centre, Southport hospital:

  • Saturday 27 November 10am to 2pm
  • Thursday 2 December 5pm to 8pm


Congratulations Susanne Lynch MBE

Sefton head pharmacist receives honour from the Royal Family

Susanne Lynch MBE with her husband Damian Lynch at Windsor Castle
Susanne Lynch, head of medicines management for NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, has been awarded an MBE - a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, at a ceremony held in Windsor Castle.

Formby resident Susanne received the award from Her Royal Highness Princess Anne on 26 October, after being recognised in Her Majesty the Queen’s New Year’s honours list announced on 30 December last year.

Susanne was honoured for her services to pharmacy, including her work responding to the coronavirus pandemic. This has seen Susanne and her team providing additional direct support to some of the borough’s most vulnerable patients.

She said:

“Being chosen by the Queen to receive an honour has been an overwhelming surprise, it was such a pleasure to attend the ceremony and meet so many other inspiring people being recognised for their services and bravery during the last year.”

“I couldn’t be prouder of my team and the work we do to improve patient care in Sefton. We all rose to the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, ensuring that our most vulnerable patients were supported through these unprecedented times.”

Susanne and the medicines management team were busier than ever during the coronavirus outbreak in 2020, working to put in place additional support for patients across Sefton during a busy and uncertain time. This included providing post-dated prescriptions and electronic transfer of prescriptions for over 9,500 patients, so they kept receiving the medicines they needed safely.

Susanne and her team also provided valuable additional support for local care homes. They set up new policies and training to enable care home staff to best care for their residents, ensuring consistent supplies of medicines and providing dedicated support online for care homes in the borough.

Fiona Taylor, chief officer at NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “This honour is so well deserved. We are immensely proud of Susanne and her team and all of their hard work here in Sefton, especially their support in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination programme this year.”

“Susanne has also overseen the development of innovative award-winning programmes which have increased the quality and safety of prescribing across our local health and care system, improving the lives of our patients.”

The New Year Honours list is a part of the British honours system, with recipients of official honours named on New Year's Day each year.

Titles of honour are given to mark the achievements and service of extraordinary people from all walks of life across the UK, in public recognition of their merit, service or bravery.