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Geofessa volunteers at hamworthy

Update on Covid vaccination efforts

PCN and practice staff continue to deliver Covid vaccination clinics at the Hamworthy Club and St Leonards Community Hospital, as well as supporting the rollout of vaccines to housebound patients with over 100,000 doses administered across both sites since December 2020. Volunteers are also making a significant contribution to the effort.

Find out more from our May Newsletter.


Six months into the Covid vaccination programme and BBC South visited the site at St Leonards Community Hospital to see how things are going.

Check out the interview (below) with Dr Anne Elder who talks about the progress being made and how they are starting to call people in their late 30s for their first dose.

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New leaflet on the work of social prescribers

Check out our new leaflet.


Every practice has access to a social prescriber who is trained to listen and signpost patients to organisations, support groups and local activities to help with non-medical factors affecting their health and wellbeing. These can include isolation and loneliness, stress at work, housing or money worries and more besides.

GPs, healthcare professionals or reception staff can all refer a patient to a social prescriber, or patients can self-refer. The service is free and open to anyone over 13 years.

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Smiling woman holding sign which says healthy

Castleman Annual Report 2020 is published 

Following the Castleman Healthcare AGM, we have published our 2020 Annual Report to update our member practices on what we have collectively achieved over the past 12 months.


This outlines our main achievements and our plans, as we embark on the next stage of our journey together. Last year was unusual for our organisation because of the pandemic, with some programmes paused or altered while we provided support to enable the PCNs to respond.

We would like to actively encourage comment from all our stakeholders on our Annual Report. Please direct these to -

Sept 2020: Counsellors transforming lives across Poole and Dorset


Being a teenager has never been straightforward but in the 21st century it is probably more challenging than ever before.

Yes, there are the pressures that have always been there – friendship groups, exams, family battles and so on. But throw some more contemporary flames onto that fire – on-line bullying, negative body imaging, exposure to unhealthy social media – and you appreciate the potential impact to health and wellbeing for young people trying to negotiate that hazardous path from childhood to adulthood.

Which is why it is important, critical even, that teenagers have someone to talk to, someone to confide in, someone from outside of their immediate social and family circle to share things with.

Someone trained to listen.

And it’s why Castleman Healthcare are so proud of the impact their two teenage counsellors have had in helping address the needs of so many teenagers across Poole North and East Dorset.

Debbie Gamble and Melissa Stockley were recruited as Teenage Counsellors by Castleman in January and have had a significant impact already. Their work has taken place in an environment which has been a challenge, for them as well as the teenagers they are trying to help.

Within a few short weeks of taking up their posts the country was in Covid lockdown and both Debbie and Melissa found themselves working remotely, trying to offer guidance and advice to anxious teenagers over the phone when they would far rather have been seeing them face to face.

As Debbie says: “I made some resources and assessment forms to utilise in the face to face sessions, so when the telephone work started it was all a learning curve. But I was pleasantly surprised how everyone adapted and still managed to open up about their anxieties.”

To date, Debbie and Melissa have worked with almost 150 young people throughout the area with over 1,000 appointments.

Debbie added: “It has been an honour and privilege supporting the young people through this very strange year, despite not being able to see them face to face. We have still had the option to do worksheets and other craft activities, so the service has been productive and has achieved some really positive outcomes.”

Here are some examples of case studies which have been in Debbie and Melissa’s in-trays over their first few months working in Poole North and East Dorset.


Unable to eat a normal meal or try new foods due to anxieties over food texture and feeling sick: 14 sessions

Developed coping strategies – for example, homemade stress balls, painting pebbles, listening to beach music – to work on fears. Encouraged journal writing and family discussions, then started to introduce new foods. By the end of the sessions the teenager was reporting normal eating patterns and able to experiment with new foods.


Low mood/lack of motivation/ASD – reluctant to leave bedroom and house (physical debilitating symptoms also involved); fear of unknown scenarios: 11 sessions

Explored what was going on in their life and how to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. Encouraged small goals, for example, visiting the garden once, daily. Built on this further by leaving the house while in conversation with the counsellor.


Anxiety around certain situations, for example, school assembly halls and shopping centres: Still ongoing

Developing coping strategies to manage anxiety in open spaces, particularly in school in places such as assembly halls. Explored a fear of fainting, worry about lighting and openness and concerns about how peers may judge when anxiety happens. Developing confidence and self-belief by drawing on calming and soothing techniques such as mindfulness and positive self-talk. A key milestone is that the client has been able to work in a café while the sessions are ongoing.