The Somerville Foundation

The Somerville Foundation

At a glance


  • Health and well being / research and care

Other details

Geographical remit: 
National - Britain


There are three ways in which The Somerville Foundation aims to attain the highest possible standards of care and support for adults and young people who were born with a heart condition (known as ACHD or GUCH patients) Firstly by providing some services directly ourselves and secondly by working in partnership with other organisations improving existing services and developing new innovative services. Thirdly we campaign for better services within the NHS.

1.Outcomes from The Somerville Foundation’s services

  • Congenital heart patients will enjoy a better quality of life. The highest possible standards of support include support that The Somerville Foundation offers which statutory agencies aren’t able to provide. This includes having a large supportive community and network of patients all helping one another as well as social weekends where patients can meet and form new friendships and relationships.
  • Patients will enjoy better mental health. Our mental health services go beyond psychological support offered by the NHS. We equip patients with strategies to maintain positive mental health and to prevent illness as well as sign posting services for those in distress.
  • Patients are empowered to better manage their condition and to lead full lives. Patients can build skills and confidence through our workshops, events, volunteering and representative opportunities

2. Outcomes from our partnership work

  • Patients will reduce their own heart risk. By working with organisations such as the BHF on the transition pack we can share our expertise so that information is as targeted and relevant as possible.
  • Patients will manage their condition better and are less likely to be lost to follow up during transition. We have been working with ECHO (Evelina Children’s Heart Organisation) at transition workshops at Guys and St Thomas Hospital. Effectively we have helping to bridge the gap between paediatric and adult care to help ensure a smooth and effective transition.
  • Patients reduce their own heart risk throughout life by adopting a healthy lifestyle early on. Our joint conferences with the Children’s Heart Federation teach young people about risk helping them to form habits and behaviour patterns that will maximise their chances of keeping their heart healthy.


3. Outcomes from our campaigning work

  • As we share knowledge and understanding of patients’ needs and campaign for better services we will help to attain the highest possible standards of care and support for adults and young people who were born with a heart condition.
  • We are working with

NHS England on the new congenital heart services review

CRG’s (clinical reference groups) on congenital heart disease and pulmonary hypertension

NHS Scotland on standards for GUCH patients

NHS England’s adult standards review

MP’s and minister through the All Part Parliamentary Group on cardiovascular disease and individual contacts and lobbying.


We liaise closely with ACHD specialist centres providing vital support for patients that the NHS is not able to cover. For example our mental health worker takes referrals from specialist nurses finding mental health expertise and support for patients within their local communities. 

ACHD  patients can often feel lonely and isolated. The Somerville Foundation offers a supportive community where patients can help one another build friendships and learn together how to better manage their own heart condition. This is outside the scope of the NHS.

We address the needs of ACHD patients by providing the services listed below

We provide

1. A freephone helpline service offering advice and support for those living with heart conditions . Information

given to patients has included how to ensure your employer makes reasonable adjustments for you at work,

where to find specialist centres for GUCH patients and a range of information to help empower and support them.

2. Conferences and workshops on topics such as dealing with fears and phobias and healthy/safe sex including

specialist information for LGBT groups.

3. A free national magazine that includes features on how patients can support each other, advances in GUCH

medicine and how to live healthily.

4.A specialist service supporting patients mental health needs.

5. A self support network through the message board on our website, through FaceBook and


6. Information and advice leaflets are availble online and in tradional booklet forms. These cover, amongst other

subjects, lfestyle issues, pregnancy, travel insurance and travel information (oxygen on aircraft, European Health

insurance card etc)

7.An employement law service giving free advice to patients provided by specialist solicitors.

8. We lobby the NHS for better provision of specialist GUCH services

9. We work with the medical profession to ensure the provision of a planned structure for GUCH services based

upon the GUCH NHS Guide and BCS Report on GUCH.  

No current opportunities

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