Message from Millie and Sarah: South West London Health and Care Partnership Update – November 2021

Millie Banerjee, Chair Designate and Sarah Blow, Chief Executive Designate,

South West London Integrated Care System

Welcome to our South West London Health and Care Partnership message to update you on how we are working together with our colleagues in health and care to make a real difference to our communities.

Our Health and Care Partnership is about improving the health, and importantly, the well-being of local people.  We do this through joining-up services and removing the traditional divides between hospitals, family doctors, physical and mental health, the NHS and council services. In the past, these divides have meant that many people experienced care that wasn’t joined up for them. Our partnership is also about better understanding the data about local people’s health, helping us to provide care that is tailored to individual needs and working together across organisations to provide services, and to plan in a way that improves the health for local people and reduces inequalities between different groups.

Since 2018, we have been deepening these relationships in our six boroughs across SW London between the NHS, local councils and other important partners such as the voluntary and community sector. We have developed better and more convenient services, invested in keeping people healthy and out of hospital and set shared priorities for the future through our local health and care plans for each borough.

In this edition, we give examples of how we are working as a partnership to prepare health and care organisations for winter. We also wanted to take this opportunity to explain new legislative changes which will likely introduce Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) across the country from April 2022.

Integrated Care Systems will introduce two new bodies: NHS Integrated Care Board (ICB) and Integrated Care Partnership (ICP). The ICB and ICP will strengthen the joint planning of health and care services and introduce a more substantial commitment to tackling health inequalities. It will also ensure that partners are working with the wider community to support overall social and economic development to make South West London a better place to live and work.

Our South West London Health and Care Partnership’s strength has been the relationships we have with our partners and communities. We are proud of our progress, but we know that much more needs to be done to give everyone the very best chance to start well, live well and age well.


What is an ‘Integrated Care System’?

‘Integrated care‘ aims to take away some of the traditional divides between hospitals and family doctors, between physical and mental health, and between NHS and council services.

 In January 2019, the NHS Long Term Plan set out that all parts of England would be served by an integrated care system. The Health & Care Bill 2021 now being considered by Parliament proposes to establish Integrated Care Systems in law and if approved be fully operational by April 2022.

Click here to watch Robert’s story – a great pre-pandemic example of how our borough partnership in Croydon (made up of the local council, NHS and Age UK) came together to improve his independence through the support from a personal independence coordinator.  Since April this year, the service has supported over 600 people like Robert with complex health conditions to live more independently, reduce their need to visit hospital and improve their health and well-being.

How we are delivering for local people

The right care, in the right place, at the right time this winter

Our health and care partners are working hard this winter to expand capacity in our hospitals to help make sure critical services can continue if there is a surge in the number of people becoming very unwell with Covid-19, flu and other winter health issues.  We need to make sure that our urgent and emergency care services are not overwhelmed, so hospital doctors and nurses, GPs as well as social care colleagues, can continue to focus on those who most need care.

Support we are putting in place includes:

  • More GP appointments, offering patients access to pre-bookable and same day appointments in the evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays, from 8am to 8pm
  • Increasing local NHS 111 capacity, with more call handlers to provide advice and signposting to the right services, as well as more health professionals in partnership with the London Ambulance Service
  • ‘Same Day Emergency Care’ is in place at all our hospitals, providing rapid care for emergency patients who would otherwise be admitted to hospital
  • Enabling and expanding remote monitoring, for example giving patients and carers medical devices such as pulse oximeters to measure blood oxygen levels at home,  so people can stay in their home or care home, or be discharged from hospital more quickly.
  • Community based services which can provide care and support within 2-hours to help prevent someone going into hospital
  • Working with local authorities and our 350 care homes to prevent residents needing to go to hospital by training carers and health care professionals to use digital tools like blood pressure monitors to remotely report warning signs of ill health to the NHS quickly to get the right support.
  • A ‘Bed Bureau’ to manage additional community beds, which people can be discharged into if they are not ready to go home but no longer need hospital care
  • Comprehensive plans have been drawn up for mental health services with a clear focus on support in the community, but with inpatient beds available if needed.

We have started a communications campaign to help signpost local people to the best place to meet their needs,  whether that is their GP, a pharmacist, 111 or an urgent treatment centre. Please click the link below for materials and messages you can use in your borough to help people stay well this winter.

  • South West London campaigns toolkit

Click on ‘Winter Toolkit 21/22’ at the top for the winter toolkit for your borough

Driving down waiting lists for surgery in South West London

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused enormous disruption to care across the country. Locally, our hospitals St George’s, Epsom and St Helier, Kingston and Croydon Health Services have been working together through ‘elective surgery hubs’ to increase capacity and help reduce the number of people waiting.

The four hospital trusts worked together with GPs, nurses, pharmacists and physiotherapists in the community to make sure those people with the greatest clinical need were treated first.  Working in this joint way also meant the NHS could centralise some operations at certain hospital sites, creating ‘elective surgery hubs’ which freed up staff and resources at other sites so they could continue responding to Covid-19.

St George’s Hospital working with other local health providers built a new Surgery Treatment Centre at Queen Mary’s Hospital Roehampton. The Centre has four dedicated operating theatres and a recovery area – and carries out day-surgery. It provides surgical teams across South West London with protected theatre time to make sure patients waiting for routine procedures get the treatment they need.   Since opening in June 2021 the Centre has treated over 1,000 patients.

Over the past 12 months our trusts have treated an extra 5,500 patients, who have had their surgical or medical care sooner, reducing the number of patients waiting for treatment.  Since March 2021 the number of patients waiting for 52 weeks has reduced by 80% and South West London remains the highest performing ICS in London for planned operations and procedures.

As we head into winter, we expect to continue urgent and emergency surgery, by using our ‘Green’ elective hub sites which only carry out planned surgery and do not treat people with Covid-19.  These sites are the best way to keep surgery going over winter if there are further outbreaks of Covid-19, flu or other winter-related pressures.

South West London ‘Green’ hub sites are:

  • South West London Orthopaedic Centre based at Epsom General Hospital and the largest hip and knee replacement centre in the UK
  • Croydon Elective Centre, which is a dedicated and separate area within Croydon University Hospital
  • The new Surgery Treatment Centre at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton

Protecting local people with vaccines this winter


The recent emergence of a new Covid-19 variant is a clear reminder that we must continue with our hard work and energy to protect local people. Our vaccine programmes for Covid-19 and also flu, are vital for all our communities, staff and services this winter. Colder weather and darker nights means we are all socialising more indoors making it easier to pass both flu and Covid-19 to loved ones.  Lower levels of flu last winter also means immunity levels are lower which makes it all the more important for people to get vaccinated.

We are continuing to work closely with those communities with lower uptake to help them make informed decisions about both the flu and covid-19 vaccines.  These ongoing community conversations are also helping us plan where best to have pop-up and walk-in Covid-19 vaccination clinics.

In Croydon, over 3,000 local people have attended a series of Covid-19 Q&A sessions with clinicians hosted by the Asian Resource Centre of Croydon and Croydon BME Forum.  We have also run more targeted engagement sessions for care home and domiciliary staff and Age UK’s Personal Independence Coordinators and Healthy Living team. Polls at the beginning and end of each session showed that people left feeling both more informed and more likely to get vaccinated.

Communities have told us that more people are likely to come forward for the vaccine if it is delivered in a culturally sensitive way in trusted local community venues. Open access clinics in community venues like mosques, churches and homeless shelters have helped hundreds of local people take up the offer of their vaccine. Watch Andrew Brown, Chief Executive of the Croydon BME Forum, talk about how talking to doctors and nurses changed his mind about getting the vaccine and his experience at the Crystal Palace Football Club vaccination centre.

Over the coming weeks we will be using insights and research with communities to help us engage with and support local people, and health and care staff to get their Covid-19 and flu vaccines.

For more information about Covid-19 vaccination programme in your borough please visit the NHS South West London CCG website: