Solent NHS Trust extends support for parents and families with online portal Family Assist
Solent NHS Trust’s Child and Family Services is launching an online portal to help parents and families access information and support during pregnancy, birth and beyond, all written and approved by local health professionals.
The digital portal – Family Assist Solent – can be accessed at any time, from a phone, tablet or PC, and will deliver key pieces of information by e-mail to registered users at the relevant stages throughout pregnancy and the different stages of a child's life.
Families across Portsmouth and Southampton cities and the Isle of Wight can now benefit from this free, comprehensive, easy to access service from their local health professionals, providing information up to age 3, with more guidance for older children already in development.
Expectant or new parents will be invited to register via their health visiting service, and anyone with a child under two can sign up by visiting the portal.
As a user of Family Assist, families can access a wealth of information, support and guidance from the portal. They can also connect with local professionals to ask a question and receive an email response within two working days so families can receive timely, reliable and relevant information. Parents and carers can also invite their relatives and friends to join them so that they can receive the same information and ask questions. This is a great way to include partners who can sometimes feel like they aren't included in the parenting journey.
Family Assist was first developed and launched in West Sussex by Kelly Pierce; currently Head of Integrated Early Help and Prevention, and Consultant Midwife in Public Health for Solent NHS Trust and Portsmouth City Council. In her role as a Consultant Midwife for West Sussex County Council and Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Kelly launched Family Assist and was subsequently awarded an MBE in summer 2021 in recognition of her work after the main benefits of the portal emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kelly Pierce MBE said: “We are really excited to be rolling out Family Assist across Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Family Assist draws on the positive use of technology and the benefits of digital relationships in healthcare. The beauty of Family Assist is that soon-to-be parents, new parents and families can get key information all in a convenient and timely way on a device of their choosing- whether that’s on the go or at home. Relatives and friends can also be part of Family Assist so that they all feel fully supported during these important stages of a young child’s life.”