Lewisham MH Carers forum May 2020

Welcome to the month of May’s update of the Lewisham Mental Health Carer forum. This is one of the 5 carer groups I run once a month to give carers a chance to find out what is happening to health, mental health and local authority services aimed at carers.

For this month we were joined by South London and Maudsley’s Associate Medical Director Dr Zain Sadiq who is also a psychiatrist. We were also joined by Lewisam’s Wellbeing Map coordinator Tim Bradley. At the forum we had a number of carers as well as carer champions, the modern matron from SLaM’s Ladywell inpatient wards. We also had in attendance the SLaM involvement lead for Lewisham and Croydon as well as Carers Lewisham staff and a representative from POhWER mental health advocacy.

I explained the reasons for the forum being the following.

1. It can be difficult for Carers in Lewisham have an idea on MH services and influencing them.
2. MH carers need some empowerment in their role.
3. Services have suffered from cuts, carers need to act in order to support everyone.
4. There needs to be an engagement platform for carers to discuss issues.

Of course there are many more reasons for the carers forum to run, but the above are at least the main issues. I also view the forum as a way of carers becoming educated about how services run and their progress.


Talking about services, Dr Zain presented a run down of SLaM’s Lewisham mental health services and how things were progressing.

  • He explained what boroughs SLaM’s MH services covered, being Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and Croydon.
  • How SLaM tries to cover all MH conditions for all ages.
  • Dr Zain explained how SLaM has around 4800 staff and treat 64,000 patients a year over 74 sites. SLaM also has National specialist services on eating disorders, Affective disorders and more. Plus SLaM’s services are split between inpatient and community services.

One of the important services Dr Zain mentioned was SLaMs 24 hr crisis line, which carers can also use.

Dr Zain gave a brief overview of SLaM’s Trust staff from the CEO, chair to the medical director, Head of Nursing and how the staff structure is arranged in Lewisham. The carers forum learnt about how important Leadership is for Dr Zain’s role and what he covers in his role, which is management on recruiting, retentionn, line management, junior docctors along with training and teaching.

As the associate medical director for Lewisham, he has around 45 – 50 regular meeting with a focus on complaints and serious incidents. Members of the forum were particularly interested on carer involvement at some of the meetings especially serious incidents and carer complaints. The forum is continuing to query what type of complaints are being raised to the NHS trust from families and carers.

Dr Zain concluded on the challenges faced by Lewisham’s mental health services, due to the COVID-19 virus. Before COVID-19 hit, SLaM lewisham services were working on many projects although I can mention some of what Dr Zain spoke about being

  • Development on the Care process model
  • Dealing with Violence and aggression
  • Community transformation especially working with primary care and the voluntary sector
  • There were projects looking to deal with waiting times
  • Plus continued approaches to being responsive to patient and carer needs.

COVID updates

Dr Zain updated for carers forum on how SLaM is following guidance from NHS England and Improvement, plus following guidance from Public Health England. During the week Dr Zain has remote meetings from other associate medical directors and junior doctors on how the virus is affecting services.

There were several things that had to be done due to COVID-19, although I can only mention some from my notes.

  • They had to move their Emergency Department to avoid transmission of viruses at University Hospital Lewisham. This led to a redeployment of liason teams at the hospital.
  • One of the wards had to be closed incase the beds were needed for covid patients, but has now reopened again.
  • Due to the coronavirus, there has been more complex admissions plus Mental
  • Health Act challenges to address especially regarding leave and discharge.
  • They are working on COVID and non-COVID pathways in regards to patient admission and discharge.
  • There has been a digital transformation not only at SLaM services in Lewisham, but trust wide.

COVID sitrep stats during May

Dr Zain exercised NHS transparancy regarding COVID and reported to the Lewisham MH Carers forum the confirmed cases across SLaM. It is with sad regret to learn 43 patients have died although the forum is not sure if it was ward infections or out in the community. My heart goes out to the families and carers mourning the loss of their loved ones who were already vulnerable before covid-19 hit.

What next?

  • Dr Zain explained that the development of Covid and non-covid pathway are a must.
  • Services of course must resume, but there will be new ways of working.
  • There will be a continued aim at measuring outcomes and quality of care.
  • Engaging and involving Carers and service users
  • Transformation of services and to continue recruitment.

After the talk there was a flurry questions from carers at the forum including

  1. Access to IAPTs due to cuts.
  2. Querying Use of testing patients and staff.
  3. If there will be involvement for carers to attend complaints and serious incident meetings.

I then gave the floor for SLaM’s Lewisham and Croydon patient and public involvement to update the forum on the advisory group developments.

  • The updates were looking for more carers to join SLaMs involvement register
  • Updates on the recent SLaM’s online family and carer’s committee.
  • It was good news to hear that the Croydon mental health carers forum will attempt to run their forum online.
  • Jane the SLaM involvement lead for Lewisham and Croydon also updated us on our queries regarding referrals.
  • Jane reminder the forum of the SLaM’s summit in June, which I have posted below.

Urgent South London Covid-19 Mental Health Prevention Summit

I then updated carers on the following before moving on to the Lewisham’s wellbeing map presentation.

  • A reminder of Carers Week 8 – 14 June 2020
  • Update on Mental Health Awareness Week 2020
  • I asked if members could feedback updates of SLaM carers committee?
  • The Carers UK Corona Virus info

Lewisham Wellbeing map

Next we had a great presentation from Tim Bradley on the development and maintenance of the Lewisham Wellbeing online Map.

wellbeing map

Taken from the wellbeing map’s site.

“The Lewisham Wellbeing Map was established in early 2018 by Tim Bradley, as a way of mapping local and borough wide health and social services in the Lewisham Borough in order to provide easier access for individuals, but also to reduce the pressure on GP’s and Link-workers that are focusing on social prescribing.

The Lewisham Wellbeing Map can be used to find local volunteer groups, neighbourhood support and other nearby services to help people in Lewisham cope during the Coronavirus outbreak”

Tim talked to the forum about how the wellbeing map is adapting the location of services due to the corona virus situation.

lwb map

I managed to give the forum an online demonstration of how the Lewisham wellbeing map worked.

This concludes the May update from my Lewisham MH carers forum.