• The South London Mental Health and Community Partnership is investing £1.1m in new community services
  • The cash comes from savings the partnership has made through its new care models and back office integration
  • It will invest the savings in forensic community services in south west London and female forensic step-down accommodation in south east London

New models of working between three London mental health trusts has delivered new investment in services worth more than £4m, HSJ has learned.

The South London Mental Health and Community Partnership is investing £490,000 into forensic community services, run by South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust, as well as £520,000 into female forensic step-down accommodation.

This £1.1m investment comes from savings released as a result of new partnership working which has reduced out of area placements among tier four child and adolescent mental health services, or CAMHS, and forensic adult out of area placements.

It takes the total investment in new services by the partnership, made up of South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust, Oxleas FT and South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust, to £4.6m.

SLaM chief executive Matthew Patrick told HSJ that £600,000 of this was from NHS England invest to save funding, the rest was invested by the partnership itself.

He said the majority of savings came from reducing the number of forensic out of area placements from 201 to 152 and CAMHS out of area bed days from 1,102 to 680 between March 2017 and March 2018.

Dr Patrick added: “Since we have started we have committed £4.63m to new service and pathway development. That’s through the success of the partnership and new models of care.

“That’s what’s enabled us to reinvest at this sort of level, most of it in the community, not in beds.”

The partnership is one of 17 areas to be handed devolved commissioning powers for adult secure and CAMHS tier 4 services from NHS England. It means the region is responsible for £80m-90m of mental health specialised commissioning budgets.

The partnership has invested up front in a variety of new programmes, including:

  • £750,000 in a central commissioning hub, including a new forensic out of area assessment team;
  • £1.3m in enhanced CAMHS crisis teams across all three trusts;
  • £580,000 in an enhanced talking therapy service;
  • £400,000 in joint bed management services and a crisis line service; and
  • £600,000 in SWLSTG adolescent outreach team expansion

The investment comes as the partnership is negotiating with its CCGs to take control of £80m worth of complex care spending.

SWLSG’s chief executive David Bradley said the savings had been made through partnership working, without any need to merge.

He said the trusts have also begun making savings through back office integration across legal services, procurement, estates and workforce.

He added: “That’s without merging, without spending money on complicated mergers and upheaval and all the things that go with that.”

But Oxleas acting chief executive Helen Smith said the main focus of the group was improving care for patients.

She added: “It’s about what’s important for patients here and trying to think about it from a patient’s perspective rather than sticking rigidly to organisational boundaries which doesn’t make sense.”

Three trusts plan to take control of £80m complex care spending