​December 2015 Governing Body meeting 

As we come to the end of 2015 and the last three months of the financial year, we want to make sure that funding committed for this financial year is making a difference. We are also planning for the year ahead.  

At December's Board meeting, I was really pleased to hear Dr Tom Coffey, our clinical lead for mental health, talk about improvements over the year in mental health services for children and young people.  A year ago exactly, we talked about our plans for these services in the Wandsworth Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) strategy 2014 – 2016.

Tom gave us a flavour of the progress that's being made and how we are focusing on the importance of preventing mental ill health and making it easier for children and families to see a mental health professional when they need to.  School is a key platform for improving the mental health of children and we will be investing extra money to expand the Place2Be service in Wandsworth primary schools. This service provides emotional and therapeutic support to children, parents, grandparents and carers.

In 2013, we invested £383,000 in the new CAMHS Access to Mental Health Service. We have been keeping a close eye on how this service is doing and I'm pleased that it has been making a big difference. Children and young people are now waiting for 2-5 weeks for routine referrals to a mental health specialist. This is amongst the best in the country for CAMHS waiting times.

We have some additional funding from NHS England to transform CAMHS services over the next five years.  In the summer, we talked to local young people about their experiences of mental health services and their views are at the centre of how we've developed our plan.

NHS finances are hardly out of the news and our finance team's presentation of the CCG's financial position confirmed that next year is going to be very challenging for the CCG. The combination of pressure on services and flat funding means that we will have to make more difficult decisions than we've had to make before. We will have to do things differently and we will need everyone to help us by using NHS services responsibly.

On a more positive note, Dr Nicola Williams told us about developments in Battersea where 12 GP practices serve about 95,157 people. Battersea has some of the most deprived and most affluent areas in Wandsworth. Childhood obesity rates are the highest in the borough as are a number of long term health conditions. Through the GP practices, we have been trying out programmes to support people with anxiety, increase HIV testing, improve early diagnosis of cancer and help people into talking therapies. One initiative, to support people with children to develop their parenting skills, was originally conceived and  established at one of our Battersea practices, Thurleigh Road Practice. The parenting classes have now been rolled out and are available for patients from all the Battersea practices. It's so important to invest in our children and families and our practices are at the centre of our efforts to do this.

We heard a helpful update about the South West London Collaborative Commissioning programme from Kay McCulloch who is the programme director. We have been encouraging local people to give us feedback on the issues that we think we need to address. We have talked about the issues at local groups and events. We also held a "deliberative event" where we invited people who might not normally get involved in NHS work.  Forty people attended the event in Wandsworth. You can read the report on that as well as give us feedback on the paper that the sets out the issues for health and health services in our patch on the South West London Collaborative Commissioning page.


Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a peaceful festive break.​​