Lambeth Together is a collaboration of health services in the London Borough of Lambeth seeking to improve care for residents.
Although at an early stage, the aim of the collaborative is to move away from basing services around organisations to instead base them around people and places to improve health and reduce health inequalities.
Lambeth Together is a relatively new initiative, which began in 2017. It therefore teaches lessons on the first stages of developing a cross-sector partnership.
Lambeth Together has three main components. Firstly, an effort to create cultural change by listening to, working alongside and engaging with the Lambeth community.
Secondly, four ‘delivery alliances’ which break down organisational barriers to delivering better services, such as for children and young people or for people experiencing mental distress.
Finally, a ‘strategic alliance’ to lead and coordinate health and social care in Lambeth as one system with one budget. The first of the four delivery alliances—The Living Well Alliance—will be launched this year (2019) along with three Living Well Centres across the borough.
- Partner with others: Lambeth Together began as the ‘Lambeth Integrated Support Alliance’, supporting the most frequent users of adult mental health services. By pooling the council, NHS and voluntary sector budgets to better support people in the community, it reduced acute admissions to hospital by 60% and allowed a whole inpatient rehabilitation ward to be closed thanks to lack of demand.
- Tackle issues from multiple angles: The partnership’s success spurred further pooling of all adult mental health budgets in the borough. This involved partners from different sectors, providing support in different areas including the council, the clinical commissioning group, South London and the Maudsely NHS trust and charities Certitude and Thames Reach. The aim was to move the focus of care from the hospital to the community. This is more cost effective and reduces bureaucracy. Importantly, people can get their clinical, social and housing needs met without being passed around the system.
- Learn and adapt: The next phase of Lambeth Together aims to use lessons learnt from other projects focussing on adult mental health to create a new alliance for neighbourhood working, devolving services out of hospitals into communities, which will be supported to play a greater role in improving their own health.
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