Better Care

In South West London we are seeing more and more people who need urgent and acute mental health care, higher demand for community mental health services, and more people accessing our services in crisis or with more serious illnesses. 

In line with the NHS Long Term Plan and the NHS Community Mental Health Framework, our Better Care programme is focused on transforming local mental health services to support people to get help early, recover, and stay well in the community, closer to their friends and families. 

That’s why, across our community services, children and young people’s services, inpatient wards and specialist services, we are transforming care to support more people to access the right care, at the right time, in the right place and ensure no-one stays in hospital longer than they need to. Co-production, co-design and collaboration are central to this. In the coming years we will continue to progress innovations that deliver better care across our clinical services, working hand-in-hand with patients, services users, the voluntary and community sector and other partners. 

In the community

We are transforming Adult Community Mental Health Services to help people living with serious mental illnesses across South West London live well and stay well in their communities, closer to their friends and families.

Making sure people get the help they need early on is vital to preventing someone's mental ill health deteriorating. Key to this is ensuring that the help we provide outside hospitals goes further by supporting their wellbeing and social needs. That’s why we have been working to transform our community mental health services in each of the five boroughs we serve.

Sutton led the way, launching in early 2022, with Kingston and Richmond following in 2023 and Wandsworth and Merton in spring 2024. In each area we are collaborating with local voluntary organisations and partners to offer a wider range of therapies and treatments, physical health care, peer and carer support and advice and support with housing, employment, finances and social welfare. (You will find these servcies under 'Integrated Recovery Hubs' for each borough in our A-Z service listings).

Joined-up care

By working in a more joined-up way we can better meets the needs of our community. With a significant expansion of our workforce, we also hope to see more people accessing our services more quickly and reduced waiting times for evidence-based treatments in the long-term.

This will mean easier access to a wider range of support in places that are more convenient like GP surgeries, more people staying well for longer and fewer people experiencing a mental health crisis. All together this will deliver better care and a better experience for patients and carers across our communities. 

Watch our explainer videos above to find out more about what this means for you.

In acute and urgent care

Better Care is transforming Acute and Urgent Care to ensure no one stays in hospital longer than they need to whilst also enhancing crisis support available in the community.

Many patients are staying for a longer in restrictive inpatient care, with more people waiting for social care support. We know this is not what our patients want or need. This can lead to delays in recovery and prevents other people who need urgent inpatient care from receiving it. 

Our acute and urgent care transformation aims to ensure no-one stays in hospital longer than they need to by improving community crisis care, helping people leave hospital without needing to be readmitted, and transforming inpatient care to offer even better interventions that promote recovery. In the long-term this will mean fewer people need inpatient care, with more people in crisis receiving care in the most appropriate place for them.

In specialist care

Better Care is transforming key areas of our Specialist Services to build better pathways back into the community for patients with complex mental health needs, supporting them to recover and live independently closer to their friends and families.

Our specialist care includes a wide range of services for people with severe mental health issues and additional needs due to old age, neurodevelopmental disorders, deafness, blindness and other conditions requiring more specialist treatments.

Transformations focus in particular on improving equity of access to community services for older adults, building stronger links with existing adult services, and improving and creating new care pathways in the community for people with intellectual disabilities, ADHD and Autism.

We will also build on successful transformations across Rehabilitation and Eating Disorder Services Transformation to support people with severe mental health issues to optimise their journey to recovery and live independent lives. This will empower more people with sever and complex mental health issues.