Skip to the content

Community and mental health services for Southampton, Portsmouth and parts of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.


Portsmouth man who survived COVID-19 praises his “guardian angels” from Solent NHS Trust and wider NHS for outstanding care

Colin Garner being wheeled by nurse, whilst nurses line up either side to say farewell

A former music schoolteacher who was not expected to survive COVID-19 is returning home to his family, thanks to the care he received from Solent NHS Trust staff and those at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust.  

Colin Garner, 61, from North End, became critically ill with COVID-19 in January 2021 and was admitted to the intensive care unit at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham. Whilst there in an induced coma, Colin was cared for by a team which included two physiotherapists seconded from Solent NHS Trust.  Colin’s condition improved, seeing him transferred to Spinnaker Ward at St Mary’s Hospital in Portsmouth in April. At the same time, physiotherapists Fiona and Hannah finished their redeployment, seeing them treat Colin once again, now at St Mary’s.

Colin, who has learnt to walk again but needs oxygen, has recovered enough over the last few months to leave hospital this weekend.  

Colin said: “It feels absolutely brilliant to be going home, I never thought the day would come. I didn’t think I would ever walk again so I’m over the moon. Everyone at the Queen Alexandra and St Mary’s have been guardian angels – every step of the way they’ve been there for me, encouraging me.

“I’m most looking forward to holding my wife, sitting with my wife, just meeting my friends and family again, being able to walk out in the garden, things like that.

“It hits you that COVID-19 is horrible, I think they nearly lost me a couple of times with pneumonia. I’m so grateful for the care I’ve received, I’ve made it through.”

Jackie Ardley, Chief Nurse, Solent NHS Trust: “We are delighted that Colin is returning home to his loved ones, this is the best outcome we could have wished for. His story is one which shows the very best of NHS Trusts working hand in hand to deliver high quality care to someone suffering from a devastating disease during unprecedented times.

“We are particularly proud of how our teams at St Mary’s, including nursing, rehabilitation and reablement, home oxygen and discharge hub colleagues, have worked seamlessly to ensure Colin’s long-term recovery and quality of life at home is the best it can be. We wish him the very best for the future.”

John Knighton, Medical Director, Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear that Mr Garner has recovered and is now able to head home after what must have been an incredibly worrying time for his family. This is a great example of partnership working across the local system and in what has been a really challenging period. We wish Mr Garner and his family all the very best, and for his continued recovery.”

Colin’s future looks especially bright thanks to wife of 43 years, Dorinda, re-proposing to him whilst in hospital. Plans are now underway for the couple to renew their vows in September.  

Discover more about Solent NHS Trust.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Please visit our services page for specific services and contact details. Alternatively, contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service by emailing or calling the number below. You can also give us feedback, make a complaint or share a compliment.

0800 013 2319

*Lines are open Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm.

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act was passed on 30 November 2000. It gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, with full access granted in January 2005.

The Act sets out exemptions to that right and places certain obligations on public authorities.


Phone: 0300 123 3919

*Subject to any exemptions which apply, we are obliged to provide the information requested please note that requests for Personal Information is not covered under this Act and should be applied for through the Data Protection Act 1998.

Our administrative and managerial centre is based in Southampton.

While our services can be found around various NHS locations in Southampton and Portsmouth (and surrounding districts), our administrative and managerial centre is based in Southampton at:

Highpoint Venue
Bursledon Road
SO19 8BR

If you require a printable version of how to find us including bus times, car access and bike info please download our leaflet. (Copyright of Highpoint Venue).

Central office phone: 0300 123 3390

*Lines open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

If you are a journalist with a media enquiry, please contact the Communications Team at:

0300 123 4156 or 02381 031076

The Communications Office is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.