Agenda item

Lambeth Living Well Network Alliance


Sabrina Philips, and Guy Swindle, of the Living Well Network Alliance; introduced the report and updated the Board on the Alliances recent work:

·           The hard work of Holly Napman, a member of one of the four Southeast teams; highlighting the importance of peer support adding quality, increasing face-to-face support, the overall aim to discharge service users back into the community.

·           Most mental illnesses started as depression, and many could be kept well by taking medication daily with regular GP contact.

·           The three Living Well centres had been condensed into two, with venues shared with GP colleagues and had greater access to people within the community.

·           Services had been sustained during the pandemic by utilising personal protective equipment, social distancing and telephony.

·           Service surveys had received 37 responses and respondents had been pleased to speak to their care coordinators and overall, provided a positive account of their recent experiences; however, some respondents preferred face-to-face, and this would be increased.

·           All Alliance partners had access to Covid-19 vaccines and frontline staff prioritised for boosters, with 86% of SLaM staff having received both vaccine doses.

·           The major workforce development had implemented a single point of access and was moving to bringing together teams, improving compassionate care knowledge sharing (e.g., mentoring), measures to address racism through a race equality framework, and improving system leadership.

·           The number of occupied in-patient beds had been reduced by over 10% a month, which had also resulted in significant cost reductions but demand had increased again this year. This was aided by the wider community sector, the CCG and Council colleagues and this work would be shared in the future.

·           The Talking Therapies service had maintained access and recovery targets, with many users liking the flexibility.

·           Complex Needs Pathway development continued and seeking to increase community expertise.

·           Ongoing Alliance challenges included enabling staff to continue working safely during the pandemic, addressing inequalities (via the Culturally Appropriate Peer Support Advocacy (CAPSA)), financial pressure, uncertainty, and filling posts.

·           Information on bed usage and equalities would be shared at the next meeting.

·           Funding from NHS London and service transformation had been used to develop co-produced services, with a bid put in to boost support initiatives as Staying Well was focused on recovery.

·           Current Alliance involved Black Thrive in recruitment to help combat racism, increase community engagement, and foster trust with Black Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.

·           Overall, resources and expertise were expected to be pushed out into communities, working alongside primary care, GPs, and community organisations.

·           Children transitioning to adult services remained a local and a national issue. The Alliance was working with leads to improve understanding, communications, and pathways. An all-age service was needed that looked at people as whole people, and improvements and increased funding was expected.


Anna Penn-Carruthers, Centre Lead for the Southwest Centre Locality, noted her experience of working at a Living Well Centre during the pandemic, stating:

·           She was proud of the service during the pandemic, especially due to the recent integration with the voluntary sector and other partners.

·           The main challenges were rapid changes as the Alliance joined with the southeast team, invocation of bubble working arrangements, and other Covid-19 process changes.

·           Many positives came from the changes, such as improved digital health care, for both staff and service users, which had allowed clinicians and service users flexibility; increased staff resilience, with low staff turnover; a shared duty system; and being able to review service users from the southeast.

·           Alliance management changes saw a focus on building relationships and trust between teams, utilising reflective practices and increased staff support, with the introduction of ‘huddles’ and ‘check-ins’ as well as yoga sessions via Microsoft Teams.

·           The level of changes had not been anticipated as the number of service users expanded from southwest to encompass southeast.

·           Safety measures were still in place, including temperature checks, social distancing, and daily Covid-19 assessments.

·           The Southeast team had moved back to their Centre and the Southwest team had moved into Gracefield Gardens, allowing greater community accessibility to nearby health services.

·           The physical health offer was being improved for service users, noting the outdoor space.

·           Staff were motivated after Covid-19 hardships, especially with service users now able to access digital healthcare, and the Centre was in a good position.


In discussion it was noted:

·           The mix of the voluntary community sector (VCS) and care services was applauded, with praise also for the ongoing development of the complex needs pathway and for the work of the Living Well Centre during a pandemic.

·           Integrating SLaM leads and VCS managers was challenging, noting the differing cultures, systems integration, and data sharing, but the shared motivation had helped teams work together effectively.

·           Conversations, improved training, and career pathway development was hoped to attract staff.

·           Complex Needs Pathways were being redesigned to ensure greater access.  Integration with the psychological therapy team would also ensure referrals from the old team were picked up by the new team and service users would receive therapy at a lower level whilst awaiting higher level. This extended to practical support for those within the community, such as when filling in applications forms.

·           The Social Worker Network was being reviewed as an item for future development.

·           Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) waiting times were monitored daily but had increased due to the single point of access for referrals. Complex Care Pathways waiting times were also under review, especially for short-term care support, and improvement was needed for whole system support and further integration.

·           Penelope Jarrett, Lambeth LMC, did not hold exact IAPT waiting times data but would provide an answer at a future meeting.

·           Referrals to talking therapies during the pandemic had been overwhelming and waiting and recovery times were still backlogged, but it was hoped that new posts, peer support and further integration would lead to improvements.

·           There were gaps in the psychological therapy services and support for those returning to primary care, with an ongoing review for those not recovering or not supported. Current survey feedback noted that young black men were over-represented in this cohort and would be a future focus.

·           Access to primary care networks should be explored to increase integration.




1.         To note the report.


Supporting documents: