Tuesday, 14 September 2021
South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust (SWLSTG) brought over 100 people across the region together online last week to share insights on its achievements and challenges at its Annual Public Meeting, under the theme ‘Our place in the community’
The Trust’s Board provided updates on a wide range of topics including the construction of new state-of-the-art mental health facilities, a £2.8m investment to support co-produced community mental health services, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and the adoption of new technologies across the local NHS workforce.
In a challenging year, South West London and St George’s services saw over 35,000 patients and recorded over 420,000 individual contacts. In adapting to the pandemic the Trust provided more virtual and phone appointments, extended its Mental Health Crisis Line and launched a new A&E service which saw around 2,800 patients. In all, feedback showed that 84% of patients would recommend the Trust’s services to friends and family.
Chair of South West London and St George’s, Ann Beasley, said, “It was fantastic to see so many people at last night’s event and truly energising to share our vision to make life better together for the people we serve in South West London.
“In the face of unprecedented adversity our staff have continued to provide high quality mental health services for our patients, service users and carers.
“We don’t underestimate the challenges that lie ahead but as we come together to recover from the pandemic we are committed to supporting our communities’ recovery.”
2021 saw the Trust make a series of pledges to support the local pandemic recovery as part of the South London Listens campaign, led by charity Citizens UK. These include developing a ‘virtual waiting room’ where children and young waiting for mental health treatment can be given bespoke digital tools, and working with partners to train hundreds of local people as Mental Health Champions.
South London Listens was discussed in further detail by representatives from Citizens UK in line with the evening’s theme. Community Leaders spoke about their experiences of working with the Trust to engage people across the region to tackle the mental health impacts of Covid-19, as well as sharing personal experiences supporting those with mental illness.
Michael Wood, Head of Health Economic Partnerships at NHS Confederation joined to talk about the work of the NHS London Anchor Network, and Director of Health Inequalities for NHS England, Dr Bola Owolabi, also presented on the importance of tackling health inequalities.
Discussing the NHS’s Health Inequalities Improvement Programme, Dr Owolabi said: “=“We want to deliver exceptional quality healthcare for all. That includes people at the margins of our society who have less, or no voice. Our vision is to deliver exceptional quality healthcare for all by ensuring equitable access, excellent experience and optimal outcomes. This is the vision that we are coalescing around.”
Testimonials from patients and families discussing their experiences of care featured throughout the evening, which ended with an in depth presentation on the Trust’s engagement work in Sutton, with several partners sharing their experiences of collaborating with the Trust’s Community Transformation team as it works to expand adult community mental health services.