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SWLSTG Writing Room 

Making Life Better Together in 2021

Ian Garlington, Integrated Programme Director, South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust
Preparing for the new year always feels like an opportunity to take a moment to be mindful of the things that we have done in the recent past and consider how to do them in the future with more resilience and greater certainty for all our people.

The challenges have been immense, and it has been heartening to see how our communities have pulled together time and time again throughout the pandemic. Looking back over 2020 it would be understandable to think only of the ways we had to adapt just to keep our services going, but in reality we have done so much more.

The development of Springfield Village is now a year old and the progress is unmissable on-site with new hospitals taking shape at its heart, and the overall layout of the village beginning to emerge. Set to open during 2022, these hospitals will provide a range of inpatient services, designed to deliver the most modern mental health care in the country. Beyond this we look forward to refurbishments in Richmond and Barnes and the development of new facilities at Tolworth. These will give people the best chance to recover in the best environment, and support our staff to deliver the outstanding care our patients deserve from us.

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In addition, we are working with our construction partners to bring forward the development of hundreds of new homes, retail facilities and a new 32-acre park for Tooting, creating a new mixed-used community. As we bring Springfield Village to life we are also starting some exciting community engagement projects that will provide a range of benefits and opportunities for local people. Earlier this month for example, we launched a community competition to find names for our new hospitals.

More than just buildings, we are working hard to foster mentally healthy cultures and communities in Wandsworth and across South West London. We are partnering on a groundbreaking new mental health prevention campaign, bringing forward a long-term action plan to promote and protect mental health across the region. We are taking advantage of new technologies to improve our services and working in more agile ways to suit both our staff and patients. And we are beginning to look hard at how we can improve synergies between our community and inpatient services to improve the care we deliver.

We are hopeful for the coming years; working to be innovative in the way we provide our services, and inclusive in the way our teams will work to promote wellness. We want each and every person we work with to know that their care is personalised, supporting their recovery and ongoing wellbeing.

Overall, 2021 will be an important year for our Trust and the people we serve as our Integrated Programme develops. It’s a year that we will see us build on the changes made in 2020 and evolve them into our everyday operations and our lives. Looking beyond the pandemic, we are committed to supporting our communities to recover from the effects of Covid-19 by boosting local healthcare, training, employment and purchasing wherever we can.

We also want to say thank you to all our staff and community to partners who have helped us to rise to the challenges of the pandemic, and adapt at pace with safety at the core of all of our work. 

Springfield Village symbolises an important evolution in the care we deliver and we look forward to sharing in the benefits that our innovations and investments will bring to south west London in the years to come. As all the various elements and changes come together, we remain clear in our mission and our vision – we will make life better together.

You can find more information on the transformations happening via the Trust’s website and at