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Positivity Packs help Vulnerable People at Crisis Point

Virgin Care’s Sutherland Lodge GP Practice in Chelmsford has been supporting its most vulnerable patients by giving out ‘positivity packs’.

The team developed the different packs to help patients suffering from mental health problems as well as the homeless.

The packs include items aimed at improving overall wellbeing such as colouring books, pencils, an information sheet with advice and contact numbers for helplines, and hygiene products such as shower gel and face cream. The packs specifically for homeless people also include contents such as foot warmers.

Susan Wray, Service Manager at the practice, said, “We aim to provide clinical assistance to our patients in the surgery, however sometimes this is not enough and we need to look at things from a different perspective.  Within our surgery’s population we have patients who have mental health problems, these patients are very vulnerable and a percentage of them come to the surgery in crisis not knowing who to turn to.”

The packs, which the surgery has named ‘PEP bags’ standing for Positive Energy Programme, aim to let patients know that they are not alone and are cared for when they are feeling at their lowest point.

Staff ensure that patients identified as at risk and at crisis point are seen by a clinician as well as being given a PEP bag. It is documented in their notes that the patients have been seen and they are called back in to have a welfare check within the next few days.

Forty packs have been given out to people identified by colleagues as requiring clinical assistance since the beginning of November 2018.

Patients have said that they appreciate the packs, with the gesture making them feel as if someone genuinely cares.

The Care Quality Commission in its latest inspection report published in January praised the positivity packs describing them as an ‘area of outstanding practice’.

Notes for editors

Sutherland Lodge Surgery in Baddow Road, Chelmsford, has been run by Virgin Care since 2016 and provides primary care services for some 11,000 patients.

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