Help and support for you and your family

 

Our vision is to enable people within Surrey to enjoy the best possible health by commissioning healthcare services that meet local needs. This section of the website provides a list of local patient support groups, services and organisations available to you as a Surrey resident. We want to ensure that local health services meet the needs of our population - which is why we want everyone to get involved in the decision-making process. Please see our How To Get Involved section for more information.

 

 

 

Model Publication Scheme Class: Not part of the MPS

Overcoming your needle phobia (fear of needles)

 

This page explains more about needle phobia and provides practical advice* on how to overcome it. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to a doctor or nurse caring for you.

 

What is needle phobia?

Needle phobia is a fear of medical procedures that involve needles or injections. It is very common, affecting at least one in 10 people, and is nothing to be ashamed of. Fortunately, simple exercises and practice can help to overcome it.

Many patients with needle phobia may have had a lot of blood tests or procedures as a child. A fear of needles and injections often, but not always, results from bad memories of needles earlier in life.

 

What are the signs and symptoms?

For many people, fear of needles is linked to fainting or feeling faint. When the fear is triggered (for example by seeing blood, or thinking about an injection), heart rate and blood pressure increase (as with other kinds of fears), but then rapidly drop. It is this fall in blood pressure that can cause fainting.

Many people do not confront their fear because they are embarrassed. Other people do not feel faint or actually faint, but do feel panicky when their fear is triggered.

 

What can I do to overcome my fear of needles?

There are a number of things you can do to help overcome your fear.

  • Tell the person who is coordinating your care, giving you your injection or doing a blood test about your worries. They may be able to answer any specific questions you have, and help you cope with the procedure, for example by chatting to distract you. Don’t worry, staff looking after you will not be annoyed or think you are a wimp when you tell them – they would like to know so that they can help to make it easier for you.
  • Think about whether there has been anything which has helped you to cope with needles in the past. Can you use something like this to help you again?
  • If your fear is linked to fainting, or feeling faint, you can learn an applied tension technique (see the next section for more information).
  • If you feel panicky (for example your heart races, your chest feels tight and your stomach churns), but you do not feel faint, you can learn a breathing for relaxation exercise (see the next section for more information).

These exercises are safe in pregnancy and with most medical conditions.

Remember, the needle will not be unbearably painful. It will hurt a little but there are things you can do to help with feeling anxious, such as distracting your thoughts and using relaxation techniques.

 

Is there anything I can do to help myself?

Applied tension

Applied tension is a simple technique to increase blood pressure back to normal levels so that you do not faint.

This is how you do it.

  1. Sit down somewhere comfortable.
  2. Tense the muscles in your arms, upper body and legs, and hold this tension for 10 to 15 seconds, or until you start to feel the warmth rising in your face.
  3. Release the tension and go back to your normal sitting position.
  4. After about 20 to 30 seconds, go through the tension procedure again until you feel the warmth in your face.
  5. Repeat this sequence so that you have practised the tension five times.

 

If you can, practise this sequence three times every day for about a week, before moving on to facing your fear.

If you get headaches after doing this exercise, take care not to tense the muscles in your face and head. Also, be careful when tensing any part of your body where you have any health problems.

 

Breathing for relaxation

Sit in a comfortable position, with your back upright but not stiff. Let your shoulders and jaw relax. Put one hand low down on your belly. Take a long, slow, deep, gentle breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to breathe right down into your belly, but don’t force it. Just let your body breathe as deeply as is comfortable for you. Do this for five breaths.

If possible, practise this exercise three times every day for a week, before moving on facing your fear.

 

Final steps: facing your fear

Once you have mastered the above exercises, the next step is to start to face your fear of needles. It is important to take one small step at a time! Develop a ‘fear ladder’ – a list of all of the situations related to needles which you fear, arranged in order of difficulty. Put the easier ones at the bottom – like the first rung of the ladder. This might include thinking about procedures involving needles, seeing pictures of them, watching them on TV and in real life, and actually having them done.

Rate each situation on a scale 0 to 10, where 10 is the most difficult and 0 is the easiest. There is an example of a fear ladder below.

Situations  

Distress rating

Having an injection in my arm   10/10
Holding a needle   9/10
Touching a needle   8/10
Watching someone else having an injection in real life   8/10
Watching someone having an injection on TV or online   7/10
Looking at photos of injections   6/10
Listening to someone talking about having an injection   6/10
Thinking about having an injection   5/10

 

Tips on creating your fear ladder

To climb your fear ladder you will have to think about, or act out, each step so try to include some situations which are not too difficult. These are the ones you will start with. Think about what makes a difference to how difficult a situation is. For example, you might find it easier to look at a picture of a smaller needle than of a large one.

 

Tips on climbing your fear ladder

  1. Start with the least difficult item (for example thinking about having an injection, in the table above).
  2. Plan enough time so that you can stay with the fear long enough to feel your anxiety peak, stay on that level for a while, then gradually reduce. Staying with the fear allows you to see how anxiety makes you feel. Remember that anxiety drops on its own over time.
  3. Begin to use the applied tension or breathing exercise.
  4. Go into the feared situation, and stay with it until your anxiety has started to drop.
  5. Take some time to relax, perhaps using the breathing exercise.
  6. When you feel confident with one situation, move up to the next step of the ladder. You may need to practise with one situation a few times before you are ready to move on to the next one.

 

Overcoming your fear will take some time and practice, but it will make life less stressful and you will feel less anxious.

 

Key points

  • Don’t be ashamed of being scared of injections – you are not alone.
  • Tell health professionals about your worries.
  • Think about what helps.
  • Learn applied tension technique if you faint or feel very faint, or breathing for relaxation exercise if you feel panicky.
  • Overcome your fear one step at a time.

 


*Information sourced from a Guide to overcoming your fear of needles from Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.

 

 

 

Review Date: 2021-06-17
Review Due: 2022-06-17
Model Publication Scheme Class: Not part of the MPS

Women's and Maternity

 

Within Surrey Heartlands we aim to achieve sustainable, high-quality physical and mental health care for women and children that meets the wide range of needs in our communities.

We will achieve this through working better together – both the organisations who commission the services and the organisations that provide the services – building on local good practice.



Health and Wellbeing

As well as providing care when required, we want to help people to avoid preventable ill-health. We’ll do this by enabling local people to make the right choices for them and their families through support, information and access to early intervention to stop physical and mental ill health at an early stage.

The NHS Long Term Plan supports this focus on prevention and early intervention. Drawn up by those who know the NHS best – frontline health and care staff, patients and their families and other experts – the Long Term Plan is ambitious but realistic. It will give everyone the best start in life; deliver world-class care for major health problems, such as cancer and heart disease, and help people age well.

If you would like information about supporting you and your family’s health and wellbeing, please visit the Healthy Surrey website.

 

Looking after your children – useful resources

 

Maternity

There are four maternity units in the Surrey Heartlands area. The services provide antenatal, intrapartum (labour and birth) and postnatal care led by a team of Obstetricians and Midwives.

For local Trust maternity information, please see the links below:

Surrey Heartlands was a national early adopter for the national Maternity Transformation Programme and has an ambitious plan in place to guide local service improvement.

 

Call A Midwife Surrey Advice Line

Surrey Heartlands also plans to give women greater choice, including the creation of a single community midwifery team, a shared home birthing team and the introduction of a shared electronic health record system. The three hospital trusts involved are Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust and Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

  • Call A Midwife Surrey Advice Line – 0300 123 5473 or email non urgent questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Other local support and information



Perinatal Mental Health

The aim of the Surrey Perinatal Mental Health Service is to ensure that:

  • Every woman has access to services to support her psychosocial wellbeing as well as that of her infant and her family in order to prevent mental illness during the antenatal period until one year after delivery.
  • Every woman is able to access quality perinatal mental health care and treatment at the right time, at the right level and at the right location

Surrey has a specialist mental health service for women who are planning a pregnancy, are pregnant or have a baby up to 12 months old. It is made up of different professionals including psychiatrists, mental health nurses, psychologists and allied health professionals such as occupational therapists.For more information, please visit the Surrey and Borders Partnership website.

 

Local support and information

For details about the health visitor advice line, please visit the Children's Health Surrey website.

If you are looking for more information about the local service offer provided by Surrey County Council Children’s Services please visit the Surrey Local Offer website.

The HANDi app is a new mobile phone app that provides advice and support to parents and carers if their children have symptoms of common childhood illnesses. The HANDi App offers simple and straightforward advice on what to do and who to contact when a child is unwell.You can download the FREE HANDi App for Android phones from Google Play or the Apple App Store for iPhones by searching 'Handi app' Paediatric, then selecting ‘Surrey Heartlands’.

 

Children's Health

Children’s health needs are met by many different organisations across the Surrey Heartlands system. GP’s, health visitors and school nurses are usually a first point of contact for children’s health needs and can signpost into other services if required.

For more information about services provided in Surrey Heartlands, please see the links below: 

 

Emotional Health and Wellbeing

Surrey County Council, NHS organisations in Surrey as well as the voluntary sector are working together on a major transformation programme across Surrey Heartlands to improve emotional wellbeing and mental health services for children and young people (CYP). The transformation will see a change in services themselves, the way services are accessed, referral processes, as well as a greater use of community assets, such as peer support.

If you would like more information about CAMH services in Surrey Heartlands, there is more information below:

 

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)

SEND stands for Special Educational Needs and Disability. All schools have a duty to be accessible and inclusive for the children within their community. It is our job to support parents in providing the best possible education for children.

 If you would like more information about Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, please see the following links:

 

Safeguarding

Safeguarding means protecting a citizen’s health, wellbeing and human rights; enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. It is an integral part of providing high-quality health care.  Safeguarding children, young people and adults is a collective responsibility.

All staff, whether they work in a hospital, a care home, in general practice, or in providing community care, and whether they are employed by a public sector, private, or not-for-profit organisation, have a responsibility to safeguard children and adults at risk of abuse or neglect in the NHS.

please visit the Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership website.

 

 

Review Date: 2021-06-10
Review Due: 2021-11-10
Model Publication Scheme Class: Class 9: Services Commissioned

Social Prescribing

 

Social prescribing, sometimes referred to as community referral, is a means of enabling GPs, nurses and other health and care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services. Their health is affected by a wide range of social, economic and environmental factors including employment, housing, debt, social isolation and culture. These factors do not respond to traditional health interventions. 

Social prescribing seeks to address these needs through a variety of activities which are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations. Examples include volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice, walking, singing and a range of sports. It is particularly useful for people who need more support with their mental health, have one or more long-term conditions, are lonely or isolated, or have complex social needs that affect their wellbeing. 

There is a growing body of evidence that social prescribing can lead to a range of positive health and wellbeing outcomes. Studies have shown improvements to an individual’s quality of life and emotional wellbeing, mental and general wellbeing and levels of depression, anxiety and loneliness. This has resulted in the reduced use of traditional NHS services such as A&E attendances, outpatient appointments, inpatients admissions or seeking a GP consultation.  

Find study data responding to the question Does social prescribing work? on The Kings Fund website. 

 

Social Prescribing in action

Together with Music pilot

Elderly residents from Keswick Care Home and children aged 10 and 11 from Eastwick School in Bookham are bridging the gap between generations, using music making to inspire confidence and tackle loneliness, anxiety and isolation.  

The innovative Together with Music pilot, is the result of a collaboration between Mole Valley District Council (MVDC), Surrey Downs Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) and Intergenerational Music Making (IMM). The 6-week pilot follows a time of isolation and has supported those living with dementia and challenging circumstances to create a stronger, healthier, intergenerational local community.   

Each session has been creatively unique, encouraging development and exploration within the music making. This project includes a variety of pre-composed and improvised music making, interactive musical and sensory activities, song-writing, choral singing and musical performances from both the young and old. The sessions, facilitated by senior music therapist Marion Barton, conclude with talking time which gives the young and old an opportunity to establish relationships, share stories and discuss the week ahead. 

The aim of this ground-breaking project is to work towards a national best practice model that can be rolled out across the country.  

Lilian, 97 year old resident, Keswick Care Home said “It’s been wonderful. We’ve been doing all sorts, they’ve been making us laugh and that’s a good thing. They’re lovely children and we’re so pleased that they come and entertain us because that’s what we need, it makes a lot of difference to us.” 


Watch this heart-warming film to discover more about this project



Evaluation of the Together with Music pilot carried out by Intergenerational Music Making  

Intergenerational activities are social engagements and interactions that bring together the older and younger generations for a common purpose. They build on the strengths that different generations have to offer, nurture understanding and mutual respect whilst challenging ageism.   

This evaluation report summarises the delivery of the 6-week pilot project, working with Keswick Care Home and Eastwick School in Bookham. The Together with Music pilot focussed on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of both the young and old through intergenerational music therapy practice. The project aimed to showcase the benefits of intergenerational music therapy practice and successful partnership working across the sectors, demonstrating all bodies striving to create positive change and support both individual and collective wellbeing through music.  

We adopted pre and post questionnaires, thematic analysis of clinical notes, written feedback from professionals and video analysis to further understand the benefits of this project for both generations. Data suggested that the interactions between the generations, supportive behaviours and human connection were key to the participants experience. Themes such as self-agency and self-awareness suggested an increase in confidence, sense of purpose and fulfilment as a result of the group. It emerged from the data that there was an overwhelming positive effect on the mood of all the participants.  

Discover more about Intergenerational Music Making and projects that they are working on. If you’d like to be involved in a project or refer into a Surrey based session, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

 

Model Publication Scheme Class: Not part of the MPS

Children and Young People

 

Within Surrey Heartlands we aim to achieve sustainable, high quality physical and mental health care for women and children that is responsive to diverse local need and affordable to the system.

This will be achieved through working better together with children and their families across the organisations who commission the services and the organisations that provide the services – building on local good practice.


Health and Wellbeing

As well as providing care when required, we want to help people to avoid preventable ill-health. We’ll do this by enabling local people to make the right choices for them and their families through support, information and access to early intervention to stop physical and mental ill health at an early stage.

The NHS Long Term Plan supports this focus on prevention and early intervention. Drawn up by those who know the NHS best – frontline health and care staff, patients and their families and other experts – the Long Term Plan is ambitious but realistic. It will give everyone the best start in life; deliver world-class care for major health problems, such as cancer and heart disease, and help people age well.

If you would like information about supporting you and your family’s health and wellbeing, please visit the Healthy Surrey website.

 

Looking after your children – useful resources

  • Learning Disabilities (via NHS.uk)
  • The HANDi app is a new mobile phone app that provides advice and support to parents and carers if their children have symptoms of common childhood illnesses. The HANDi App offers simple and straightforward advice on what to do and who to contact when a child is unwell.

    You can download the FREE HANDi App for Android phones from Google Play or the Apple App Store for iPhones by searching 'Handi app' Paediatric, then selecting ‘Surrey Heartlands’.

 

Maternity

There are four maternity units in the Surrey Heartlands area. The services provide antenatal, intrapartum (labour and birth) and postnatal care led by a team of Obstetricians and Midwives.

For local Trust maternity information, please see the links below:

Surrey Heartlands was a national early adopter for the national Maternity Transformation Programme and has an ambitious plan in place to guide local service improvement.

There is also more information available on our Women and Maternity page.

 

Call A Midwife Surrey Advice Line

Surrey Heartlands also plans to give women greater choice, including the creation of a single community midwifery team, a shared home birthing team and the introduction of a shared electronic health record system. The three hospital trusts involved are Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust and Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

  • Call A Midwife Surrey Advice Line – 0300 123 5473 or email non urgent questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Other local support and information

 

Perinatal Mental Health

The aim of the Surrey Perinatal Mental Health Service is to ensure that:

  • Every woman has access to services to support her psychosocial wellbeing as well as that of her infant and her family in order to prevent mental illness during the antenatal period until one year after delivery.
  • Every woman is able to access quality perinatal mental health care and treatment at the right time, at the right level and at the right location

Surrey has a specialist mental health service for women who are planning a pregnancy, are pregnant or have a baby up to 12 months old. It is made up of different professionals including psychiatrists, mental health nurses, psychologists and allied health professionals such as occupational therapists. For more information, please visit the Surrey and Borders Partnership website.

 

Children's Health

Children’s health needs are met by many different organisations across the Surrey Heartlands system. GP’s, health visitors and school nurses are usually a first point of contact for children’s health needs and can signpost into other services if required.

For more information about services provided in Surrey Heartlands, please see the links below: 

 

Emotional Health and Wellbeing

Surrey County Council, NHS organisations in Surrey as well as the voluntary sector are working together on a major transformation programme across Surrey Heartlands to improve emotional wellbeing and mental health services for children and young people (CYP). The transformation will see a change in services themselves, the way services are accessed, referral processes, as well as a greater use of community assets, such as peer support.

If you would like more information about CAMH services in Surrey Heartlands, there is more information below:

 

Special educational needs and disability (SEND)

A child or young person has special educational needs and disabilities if they have a learning difficulty and/or a disability that means they need special health and education support, we shorten this to SEND.

The SEND Code of Practice 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014 gives guidance to health and social care, education and local authorities to make sure that children and young people with SEND are properly supported.

To find out more about SEND services in Surrey, please see the following links:

 

Safeguarding

Safeguarding means protecting a citizen’s health, wellbeing and human rights; enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. It is an integral part of providing high-quality health care.  Safeguarding children, young people and adults is a collective responsibility.

All staff, whether they work in a hospital, a care home, in general practice, or in providing community care, and whether they are employed by a public sector, private, or not-for-profit organisation, have a responsibility to safeguard children and adults at risk of abuse or neglect in the NHS.

please visit the Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership website.

 

 

Review Date: 2021-06-10
Review Due: 2021-11-10
Model Publication Scheme Class: Class 9: Services Commissioned
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