NHS services, local councils and community organisations to team up to make care better for local people

The NHS, local councils and the voluntary sector in south west London have strengthened their commitment to working together to deliver better care for local people, the latest strategy from South West London’s Health & Care Partnership announces today.

The renewed focus will see organisations providing health and care in six London boroughs come together as four local partnerships, acting as one team to keep people healthy and well in Croydon, Sutton, Kingston & Richmond, and Merton & Wandsworth.

Dr Naz Jivani, Clinical Lead for the South West London Health and Care Partnership and GP Chair of Kingston CCG said:

“We have listened to local people, our partners in local authorities, politicians and experts like the King’s Fund over the last year. Our new approach reflects what people have told us3.

“As little as 10 per cent of local people’s health and wellbeing is linked to access to healthcare, and that’s why we’re focused on prevention and early intervention. To keep people healthy and well, we need to think about their surroundings, where they live, their education or work and their lifestyle as well as their healthcare. This is why we have set up local health and care partnerships.

“We are working together in new ways across our organisational boundaries, acting as one team, to keep people healthy and give local people better care when they are ill.

“We are already making real progress together. Now, we want to work even more closely with our health and care partners to develop local plans which reflect the needs of each population.”

A key part of the latest announcement from south west London‘s Health and Care Partnership is a joint commmitment to champion children and young peoples’ mental health and well-being as a shared health promotion and prevention priority.

Dr Jivani continued, “With one in ten children aged 5-16 having a diagnosable mental health condition, and increasing levels of self-harm an issue across south west London, we will work be working together across all areas to raise awareness and understanding of this important issue.

“We will also be talking to young people to help us understand what knowledge and support they need, to strengthen their personal resilence and to encourage them to seek the right advice and services.”

One year on from the publication of its health and care plan to bring together local services, South West London’s Health and Care Partnership has already seen a number of successful collaborations, including:

  • Personal independence co-ordinators providing support for older people with long term health conditions in Croydon, as part of a partnership between Age UK, local GPs, the NHS and Croydon Council.
  • A reduction in the number of days older people from care homes in Sutton are spending in hospital, thanks to better communication between hospitals and care home staff and a red bag containing all their relevant information, medicines and personal belongings
  • Extending GP hours from 8am – 8pm in every borough to ensure patients have access to an additional 15,000 appointments per month
  • The development of a 24/7 ‘safe house’ in Kingston for people suffering a mental health crisis, which has meant 9 out of 10 visitors return home without needing to stay in hospital
  • Teams of doctors, nurses, mental health experts and therapists across Merton and Wandsworth working together to respond rapidly when older people are taken ill – and to help them to be treated in their own home when possible
  • An additional £400,000 of funding for NHS 111, with more doctors and nurses available to give advice to patients, care homes and the ambulance service over the phone
  • Ensuring that every hospital in south west London now has 24/7 support in place for people suffering mental health crises

Dr Andrew Murray, Merton CCG GP Chair and Joint Chair of the South West London Clinical Senate – made up of leading doctors, nurses and therapists from across the patch, said:

“We will continue to need all of our hospitals and we will not be closing any of them. It’s for local health and care partners to work out what services their area needs, what can be provided in the community and what the local hospital can provide.

The four local areas are starting to look at the quality of services. As a starting point, each of our hospitals was asked to self-assess six of their services against an agreed set of clinical standards set by the South West London Clinical Senate.

Local areas will now need to test those self-assessments and consider what actions will be required to deliver the necessary clinical standards for all our patients.”