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South West patients needed for biggest ever study into depression and anxiety

Healthcare professionals in the South West are proud to be able to offer patients in the region the opportunity to take part in the biggest ever study of depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health disorders worldwide. In the UK, 1 in 3 people will experience symptoms during their lifetime.

Theo Tomlinson

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and researchers in the region are encouraging patients to sign up to take part in the GLAD study (Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression) which aims to better understand depression and anxiety in order to find effective treatments and improve the lives of people experiencing these disorders. It is the biggest ever study of its kind developed in collaboration with mental health charity MQ and with patients and service users.

The Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula (CRN SWP), part of the National Institute for Health Research, is supporting sites across the region to be able to offer the study to patients.

In the coming few weeks’ two sites in the region hope to be open for recruitment to the GLAD study – Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Devon Partnership NHS Trust. The study is also available to join online at

Sharon Hudson, Clinical Research Specialty Lead for Mental Health at the CRN SWP, said:

“The latest data shows us there has been a 20 per cent increase over the last few years in the number of referrals to the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service locally which provides evidence based psychological therapies for people with anxiety and depression - rising from approximately 2,100 to 2,500 referrals per 100,000 population. Around 25 per cent of those referrals are for depression and 32 per cent for anxiety.


“We therefore know that depression and anxiety are the two biggest mental health issues and so it is great for the region to be backing such a high-profile study and ensuring equity of access for our patients.”

Mental health research is increasing in the South West – with 1,527 people taking part in 2017/18 and 1,675 people taking part in the last financial year.

The CRN SWP has also recently invested in a new Mental Health Research nurse whose remit will be to increase the number of research opportunities available to patients in the region, with particular emphasis on Plymouth and North Cornwall where there has traditionally been a lack of infrastructure.

“We know that patients in the region want to get involved in research and we know that patient care improves if research is happening in NHS so this really is a great opportunity,” said Sharon.


Run, walk or cycle to Make May Purple for Stroke

Make May Purple for Stroke logo

Cornwall’s dedicated Community Stroke Service is taking part in a series of walks, runs and cycles to ‘Make May Purple’ for the Stroke Association’s month-long awareness campaign.

Many staff will be conquering the Camel Trail, with runs, walks and cycles between Wenfordbridge, Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow throughout May and are asking for everyone from the public to other nursing staff to join them.

Or if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, a group of staff from the stroke service will be walking the Great Flat Lode, in Carn Brea on Saturday 11 May. Join the team from Lanyon Ward at Camborne Redruth Community Hospital to help raise awareness.

Anyone can join in, from those who have suffered a stroke themselves, their families, friends, carers or and anyone else who would like to take part. For every meter/kilometre that is completed, the Stroke Service want to add to their total tally. Those getting involved are encouraged to take pictures and email them to:


5 metres                 There is approximately 1 stroke every 5 minutes in the UK

23 metres               1 for every day the average patient is on a stroke unit

250 metres             1 for approx. everyone who has a stroke in Cornwall that is of working age

400 metres             1 for every child who has a stroke in the UK over the last year

700 metres             1 for approx. every patient with TIA in Cornwall over the last year

1,000 metres                    1 for approx. every new stroke in Cornwall in the past year

2,019 metres                    There are approx. 2019 strokes every week in the UK

1,200,000 metres    There are approx. 1.2 million strokes every year in the UK

Stroke strikes every five minutes in the UK. It is the fourth biggest killer in the country and with 100,000 incidents of stroke occurring every year, it’s vital to know how to spot the warning signs of a stroke in yourself or someone else. Using the FAST test is the best way to do this:

  • Face: Can the person smile? Has their face fallen on one side?
  • Arms: Can the person raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say? Is their speech slurred?
  • Time: If you see any of these three signs, it's time to call 999

Strokes occur in the brain - the control centre for who we are and what we do. Recovery is tough after a stroke; but with teams such as Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s (CFT) dedicated stroke service, recovery is possible.

“There are over 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK” commented Dr Katharine Stone, who is CFT’s Consultant Therapist in Neurology. “Caught quickly and by acting FAST, recovery is possible. It’s important to note that although the FAST test helps to spot the three most common symptoms of stroke, there are other signs that you should always take seriously.” 

These signs include:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, including legs, hands or feet.
  • Difficulty finding words or speaking in clear sentences.
  • Sudden blurred vision or loss of sight in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden memory loss or confusion, and dizziness; or a sudden fall.
  • A sudden, severe headache.

To get involved in making May purple for stroke, please visit: To find out more about stroke, its symptoms, causes and treatment, please visit:



Fundraising for young person’s unit hits a quarter of a million!

Fundraising for young person’s unit hits a quarter of a million!

Fundraising for Cornwall’s very first under 18s mental health unit has now reached over a quarter of a million pounds.

Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT) will be running the brand new 14 bed Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) unit, named Sowenna, at the Bodmin Hospital site.

Since the fundraising appeal launched in September last year, vital funds have been raised to pay for ‘icing on the cake’ items. Funds will enable CFT to provide additional items and specialist areas that will really make a difference to young people’s recovery, health and wellbeing. These include: a minibus; a multipurpose activity barn for team sports and performance arts; parental accommodation to allow families to stay over and make admission less unsettling; a café to allow visits with family and friends to happen in a friendly space; therapeutic gardens, and equipment for music, arts and cooking.

It is hoped that these ‘icing on the cake’ items will transform Cornwall’s very first child and adolescent mental health unit from a high quality centre, to the very best in the country.

Ahead of the NHS Five Year Forward View, the new unit, which is due to open this summer, will mean that children and adolescents will have access to specialist mental health beds within the county. This initiative delivers on NHS England’s commitment to reduce out of area placements for children and young people by increasing bed numbers nationally by 10%.

 “Currently some of our most ill and vulnerable young people are travelling hundreds of miles away from their family and friends to access psychiatric treatment. Our aim is to stop families travelling thousands of miles every year to visit their children and to provide world-class facilities in Cornwall to improve recovery times” commented CFT Chief Executive, Phil Confue.

Mr Confue continued: “We are astonished by the tremendous response so far from the fundraising appeal. The Cornish community has really got on board and £40,000 has been raised by community fundraising alone. We have received nearly £4,500 in online donations and £6,500 from Cornish parish councils, churches and town councils so far.”

Considerable donations towards the Sowenna unit have also come from the Garfield Weston Foundation, the National Lottery and Wooden Spoon.

The Invictus Trust, who aims to support and offer services to local teenagers who are suffering from poor mental health and associated issues, continues to support Sowenna by donating valuable funds towards the unit. The charity is working to encourage local people, communities and businesses to donate towards the cause and fundraising appeal.

Local attractions have also got involved, with Snowdrop Sunday at Pencarrow House and Gardens raising £3,244 and visitors to the Lost Gardens of Heligan helping to raise over £3,000 over the festive period. 

Other fundraising has come from CFT staff, with 12 pledging to climb Ben Nevis later this month, and others running full and half marathons in London, Exeter, Hackney and Plymouth.

Sowenna Ambassador, Dame Darcey Bussell DBE commented “The Sowenna team have set out with unwavering determination to succeed in bringing mental health support to the youth people of Cornwall. There is every chance that when successful, Sowenna will be a model that will be copied across the UK and I am very proud to be an ambassador”

To get involved in fundraising, either by organising an event or making a donation please visit or contact the Sowenna Appeal Team at

Trust scoops two national mental health awards!

Staff receive two mental health awards

Last month Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust scooped two awards at the very first Celebrating Impact and Influence in Mental Health Awards.

The Trust has been a member of the Mental Health Collaborative from its origins back in 2011.

Awards taken home were the Excellence in Quality Improvement in Suicide Prevention Award with the Collaborative stating that the team have been “innovative, inspiring and connection making in their relentless quest to prevent suicide” and the Most Shamelessly Stolen from Team Cup Award for the Trust’s innovative, inspiring and sharing work on preventing venous thromboembolism (VTE), reducing restraint, non-contact physical health observations, Kit Kat week and men’s mental health posters for pubs.

Leslie Lawson-Kinross, who is the Trust's Patient Safety Coordinator - Clinical Effectiveness, commented: "We were thrilled to win these two awards which recognise our staff's contributions to patient safety and quality improvement. The "Shamelessly Stolen Cup" was a fantastic surprise and demonstrates just how many innovative ideas our staff have produced and shared with other organisations across the South of England. It's a great privilege to be part of the team driving Quality Improvement forward for CFT."


Epilepsy safety education tool wins prestigious medical award

We are thrilled to announce that SUDEP Action and its partnership of researchers and clinicians, have won the Education Team of the Year award at this year’s British Medical Journal (BMJ) Awards 2019.

BMJ Award 2019

This respected award recognises the success of two epilepsy safety tools; the digital app EpSMon for people with epilepsy, and the clinician tool, the SUDEP and Seizure Safety Checklist. Since their launch in 2015, these tools have been recognised as having the potential to transform epilepsy patient safety and improve outcomes for people living with the condition.

The safety tools won a BMJ Award in 2016 for Neurology Team of the Year, and ‘Highly Commended for Innovation in 2017. Also, in 2016, the tools won the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Award for Education and Training in Patient Safety. EpSMon was also featured as one of six projects chosen by the NHS to celebrate digital innovation within healthcare, as part of their 70 year anniversary in 2018.

Dr Rohit Shankar, MBE and Consultant in Adult Development Neuropsychiatry said

"The renewed recognition of the updates and development of the epilepsy safety project is an endorsement of its potential to make a difference in saving lives of all people with epilepsy particularly those at higher risk for example, those with intellectual disabilities, mental illness, comorbidity or who are socially deprived.

The project benefits from a diverse range of expertise. The hope is that the NHS Long Term Plan has indicated digital technology to be a big driver of change in health care delivery EpSMon and the checklist are vanguards and templars to it"

With over 600,000 people in the UK with epilepsy, there are a lot of people that are impacted by the success of such a conversation and ongoing education on epilepsy risk

Jane Hanna OBE, SUDEP Action CEO commented,

“Empowering both the patient and clinician with the right information and tools are key to assist with discussions – so risks can be positively managed. Improved education of these risks helps to potentially save lives. The project is entirely funded by bereaved families in memory of their loved ones, who have died from epilepsy. We are so proud of all that these tools have achieved in their name and will go on to save future lives.”

The SUDEP and Seizure Safety Checklist was developed in Cornwall (UK) as a collaboration between SUDEP Action and Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. It is supported by a Development Group of leading experts in the field.

Currently used by over 650 clinicians nationwide, it provides the latest research on epilepsy risks to clinicians, boosting their own professional education. It also aids the monitoring and discussion in appointments about a patient’s epilepsy and general wellbeing - informing them of possible health risks. Research findings have already shown that these discussions are potentially lifesaving.

EpSMon is an epilepsy self-monitor app, which encourages people with epilepsy to actively monitor and take action against epilepsy risks, in between appointments. Based on the information and research within the Checklist, EpSMon enables users to assess their epilepsy and overall wellbeing periodically, calculating and informing them of when a clinical appointment may be appropriate. This further improves patient safety and knowledge by alerting the individual about any specific risks that may not necessarily be picked up elsewhere. Research on the app has shown that 44% of users hadn’t previously had epilepsy risk discussions with their clinician, despite the app showing they were experiencing known epilepsy mortality risks.  

Dr Craig Newman, Senior Research Fellow, University of Plymouth, said:

“It’s just amazing news. To have won once was fantastic and twice is unheard of within this sector. Winning the prize was only heightened by winning it alongside a team I greatly admire. Hopefully this recognition will help more people become aware of the app because that’s the whole point of research and digital innovation – making a positive difference to those who need it most.”

A recent Public Health England report (2018) highlighted the shocking statistics concerning neurological deaths (including epilepsy) between 2001 -2015, had increased by 39%. Nearly half (49%) of the epilepsy deaths recorded, were untimely deaths. With 21 epilepsy-related deaths each week in the UK; action is needed to both raise awareness of the potentially fatal risks linked with the condition, and also to help people with epilepsy to reduce them and improve their wellbeing.

Hospital bake-off for SU2C

Cakes made by staff for fundraising bake off

Staff at Helston Community Hospital have been busy with whisks, flour and eggs, and have hosted a special Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) bake off to raise essential funds for Cancer Research UK. 

Organised by Staff Nurse, Samantha Grenfell, staff made 21 different cakes to be judged by Kellie of Kellie’s Kakes, Sister, Trudy Addington and District Nurse Team Manager, Paul Marsden.

The winner of the Star Baker was Health Care Assistant, Tricia Barry, who won a SU2C pinny.

“Here at Helston Community Hospital we all love cake and we have many keen bakers so we thought holding a bake off would be a great way to raise money for Stand Up To Cancer and also bring everyone from all departments together. It was great fun to see who would win the coveted Star Baker Pinny!” commented Samantha.

Samantha added “we have all been touched by cancer here at Helston Community Hospital, by either caring for our patients or having our personal lives affected by cancer, so we all felt it was a great cause.  The total at the end of the event was £165.50.”

Help us crack this Easter by using the right NHS service

Don’t spend your Easter bank holiday waiting in the emergency department to get sprains, strains and broken bones fixed - head straight for your nearest minor injury unit (MIU) or urgent treatment centre. Whether you’ve hammered your thumb doing the traditional bank holiday DIY, injured yourself with an over-enthusiastic football tackle in the park, doctors and nurses there can treat you far quicker, leaving you to enjoy the rest of the long weekend.

Choose Well Easter 2019

Minor injury units and the West Cornwall Hospital Urgent Treatment Centre can treat a range of minor illnesses and injuries, which have occurred during the previous 14 days. You will be seen by an experienced nurse, without an appointment. X-ray is available at some locations.

Minor injury units are based at:

  • Bodmin Community Hospital
  • Camborne Redruth Community Hospital
  • Derriford Hospital, Plymouth
  • Falmouth Community Hospital
  • Helston Community Hospital
  • Launceston Community Hospital
  • Liskeard Community Hospital
  • Newquay Community Hospital
  • St Austell Community Hospital 
  • St Mary's Community Hospital
  • Stratton Community Hospital
  • West Cornwall Hospital, Penzance

There is also a minor injury unit at Stennack Surgery in St Ives (TR26 1RU) which is open 10am to 4pm on Good Friday and Easter Monday. Call 01736 793333 for more details.

If you do need to visit the emergency department, a minor injury unit or urgent treatment centre during the holiday, you can see how long you may have to wait by using the online waiting time service, which shows the longest wait, how many people are waiting to be seen and how many people are in the department. It also includes opening times and x-ray availability.

Pharmacists can give confidential expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints, such as allergies, minor cuts, nappy rash and skin conditions. They can also arrange an urgent prescription for a supply of any prescribed medicines that run out, so you don’t have to use the out of hours’ service or the emergency department. This service is also available for anyone who’s on holiday or visiting family. You can also get details of which pharmacies are open during the bank holiday weekend, including evenings and Sunday by visiting

NHS 111 also provides 24-hour expert non-emergency medical help when your GP surgery is closed. It’s free to call from landlines and mobile phones and is staffed by fully-trained advisors and experienced clinicians. 

Dr Tamsyn Anderson, Director of Primary Care at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “The bank holiday is a time to relax and have fun but if you or a family member falls ill or has an accident, please use the right health service.

“Once again we’re appealing to anyone who needs help to use the right service and keep the emergency department free for urgent and life-threatening care only. The emergency department is not the right place to treat sporting sprains and strains, minor fractures, upset stomachs, insect bites and cuts. Please visit a minor injury unit or our urgent treatment centre in Penzance for treatment.

 “Everyone across the NHS is dedicated to ensuring when people attend our hospitals they receive the best, safest and mostly timely care.

“This Easter we are asking you to help us crack it by continuing to Choose Well and to ring NHS 111 if you need 24-hour expert non-emergency medical help when your GP surgery is closed. It’s free to call from landlines and mobile phones and is staffed by fully-trained advisors and experienced clinicians.”

Visit our Choose Well pages for details of all services, opening and waiting times.

Please only visit the emergency department for life-threatening emergencies.

Successful winter pilot extended

Happy smiling elderly woman

The Edward Hain winter pilot has been extended for a further three months.

AgeUK and Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT) have been working in partnership to provide a six week programme to those who would benefit from a person centred approach to build confidence, promote independence and link in with other services in the community.

The pilot was due to end in March, however due to its success partners agreed that the project would continue until 30 June 2019, with Anita Cornelius, CFT’s Interim Locality Director for West Cornwall stating that the pilot had proved to be “sustainable and compassionate”.

Located at the Edward Hain Community Hospital site, the ‘winter pilot’ offers a Monday to Friday service from 9am to 5pm with optional weekend support based at Penarth Day Centre. 

The six week programme offers:

•        Meals

•        Falls prevention and chair-based strength and balance training

•        Foot care

•        Community support teams

•        Continuation of an existing therapy plan with support from third sector staff

•        Re-ablement Support Worker to co-ordinate support

•        Assistance with daily living tasks e.g. preparing hot drinks

•        Social interaction and wellbeing activities

•        Transport to and from Edward Hain during opening hours

•        Access to and support with bathing

The pilot is aimed at Penwith residents who are registered with a Penwith GP, or adults who are discharged from hospital or who are already in their own home who would benefit from the programme. Additionally, those who are able to self-administer medication, who can independently transfer with the assistance of one person or adults who may benefit from social interaction and group activity may benefit from the pilot.

This initiative is part of the Shaping Our Future transformation programme that is bringing together the NHS, social care and public health across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to achieve positive and genuine improvement in health and social care delivery.

Those who feel that they may benefit from the pilot are advised to seek referral from their GP, healthcare professional or community maker.

Falmouth Hospital generously donate to Cornwall Blood Bikes

 Falmouth Hospital generously donate to Cornwall Blood Bikes

In February, our Falmouth Community Hospital staff presented the local Cornwall Blood Bikes with a cheque for £400, raised through Christmas hamper raffles.

Cornwall Blood Bikes are a group of self-funded volunteers who provide an “out of hours” free courier service to NHS partners across Cornwall. Operating 5pm to 7am Monday to Friday, and 24 hours weekends and bank holidays, the Cornwall Blood Bikes deliver and collect blood, pathology samples, medication, medical supplies, instruments, breast milk, medication and much more, saving the NHS in Cornwall in excess of £200,00 in taxis and couriers.

At the presentation, Brian Reynolds, John Penlerick and Jayne Penlerick from the Cornwall Blood Bikes were invited onto the hospital ward to meet with patients and to learn more about the care given by the hospital’s dedicated staff.

Cornwall Blood Bikes Advanced Fleet Bike Rider, Brian Reynolds, commented: “On behalf of Cornwall Blood Bikes we would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all the staff and patients for this outstanding donation that will truly keep our wheels turning and allow us to continue helping yourselves and other hospitals.”


Hospitals celebrate 70 years of the League of Friends

Hospitals celebrate 70 year of the League of Friends

Recently, our community hospitals have been celebrating the hard-work of our League of Friends and their 70th year.

Afternoon tea parties have been held up and down the county to thank the Leagues for their essential fundraising and support. Some teams have raised funds to donate to their hospital League.

When the NHS was set up in 1948, it involved the transfer of the voluntary hospital to the NHS. Volunteers still felt that they had a role to play, so the British Hospital Association recommended setting up the League of Friends.

The very first League of Friends conference took place on the 24 March 1949 and was attended by 175 Leagues.

Last year, 29,000 volunteers gave 4.13,000,000 hours which equates to £26,000,000 at the minimum wage and over £41,000,000 for health and social care.

The tea parties were attended by ward staff, each hospital’s League, senior managers, Directors, our Chief Executive and Chair.

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