From Southwark Keep Our NHS Public: SLaM could axe 19 beds for older people

Cuts would save 1.2 million a year says Trust

Concerns have been raised over a psychiatric hospital’s proposal to cut bed numbers to save cash. Health campaigners have criticised South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) over the potential axing of 19 beds for older people at the Maudsley hospital in Denmark Hill.

SLaM estimates the move which will leave it with 62 beds for older people would save it around 1.2 million per year. A spokesman said £400 000 of the cash saved could be used to start a home treatment team that would visit patients in their homes.

Tom White veteran health campaigner and leading member of Southwark Pensioners Action Group (SPAG) has spoken out against the proposal. He said; “This is clearly a cut to save money and once again it is the most vulnerable people in our community who are going to be hit. SPAG gives its full support to the home support team but there is no way in the world the support team is going to provide the same level of care as is received by those on the ward. It is insulting to suggest they can be treated the same way home as they would be in the hospital.”

The SLaM spokesman said the trust would hold a consultation before going ahead with its bed cutting proposals. He said: “We are consulting on creating a new home treatment team for older people in Lambeth and Southwark. The team would provide treatment to people at risk of developing acute mental illness. It would help to prevent the stress and disruption often associated with an admission to hospital. Similar care models have been successfully introduced in other parts of the UK and anyone needing hospital treatment would still be admitted.”

The spokesman said the new home treatment team would leave the trust requiring fewer hospital beds for older adults. The consultation includes proposals to reduce these from 81 to 62. This could save £1.2 million with £400,000 being re-invested in the home treatment team.

Do you agree with proposals to reduce the number of beds at the hospital?

Hear Us Xmas Party and Wellbeing Event

On Tuesday 6th December, Hear Us – Croydon’s Mental Health Service User Group – held our Xmas Party and Wellbeing Event at the CVA in West Croydon.  The event was funded by SLaM Special Trustees.

Hear Us is Croydon’s Mental Health Service User Group.  The majority of our Staff, Volunteers, Members and Trustees are current or ex users of Croydon’s Mental Health Services.  Many of us have been inpatients at the Bethlem Psychiatric Hospital and we represent the ‘voice of service users’ i.e. we use our unique insight and experience of mental illness to offer support to people currently experiencing mental distress.  Hear Us is commissioned to monitor and feedback on Croydon’s mental health services and aims to improve the experiences of people in Croydon who access these services. Hear Us is also a ‘signposting’ organisation. We link up with other organisations and services in Croydon who offer support, advice, Drop-in’s, Welfare Benefits and Advocacy support as well as Employment Support to mental health service users and carers in the Borough.

Sadly, people with mental illness still suffer stigma and discrimination in today’s society. It was Hear Us’ hope that by hosting a big community event like this in Croydon, we would bring together those directly affected by mental illness, carers, staff, and importantly, members of the public to help address this issue.

Over 25 organisations in Croydon gave up their time and expertise to make this a really special day.

Hear Us set up an ‘Information Room’ for people to access advice and support on all aspects of mental and physical wellbeing – organisations included Mind in Croydon, Croydon’s Carers Information Service, Croydon Diabetes, Croydon Samaritans, Status and Mind Employment Services, Croydon Healthy Living Hub and Stop Smoking services, Croydon Safer Transport Police, Croydon Autistic Society and many more.

We were also privileged to be entertained on the day in our ‘Party Room’ by an amazing Service User band called ‘The Irregulars’ as well as the talented duo, ‘Jules and Remi’ part of the Imagine user-led group in Croydon’ on vocals and guitar and Michael Harrington, a football coach for Crystal Palace.

Hear Us organised a ‘Relaxation’ Room which gave people the chance to enjoy taster sessions of Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Massage, Manicures and Zen Acupuncture.  Croydon’s Body Shop joined us and treated people to free makeovers.

Several stores and companies in Croydon also donated some fabulous raffle prizes, and Croydon’s big supermarket chains, Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsburys and Marks and Spencer donated food for the event.

Over 300 people from Croydon’s Mental Health Services, day services, resource centres and care homes, as well as inpatients from Bethlem psychiatric hospital, Carers and staff enjoyed an amazing afternoon.

To find out more about Hear Us – Croydon’s Mental Health Service User Group, visit our website or telephone 020 8681 6888 or Email:

Hear Us would like to extend a special Thank you to the SLaM Special Trustees as well as all the volunteers from Hear Us and Mind in Croydon, who enabled us to make this event completely FREE to anyone in Croydon with an interest in mental health and wellbeing.

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I’m delighted I was able to attend and to experience first-hand what a marvellous event it was. I think the balance between entertainment, information and alternative therapy was excellent and it was fantastic that so many people were able to attend and participate” (Steve Hill from Croydon Council).

“The 2011 Hear Us Christmas Party and Wellbeing Event was a huge success. It was attended by service users, carers, mental health staff and service providers of various kinds. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am pleased I went. As a service user, I got a lot of very useful information, including opportunities to volunteer on projects which I never knew existed. Hear Us is an amazing organisation, and this event will have brought pleasure, support and information to many people in the Croydon area.”

(Service User)

The Hear-us Christmas and Wellbeing party was a great afternoon, lots of people took a great interest in coming along and taking part in the relaxation therapies and information stands from various organisations in Croydon.
It brought together people with mental health problems in Croydon to socialise
in a very cheerful environment with great music, food and entertainment.
The Hear-us team worked very hard to make the event successful and successful it was!
I hope that next year’s event will be as special!
( Sarah Longhurst – service user)


“The Hear Us Christmas Party was a great success with its emphases on well-being, socialising, networking and having a good time.  It touched me greatly to see so many people, who often have difficulties in life as a result of mental ill health, being relaxed and comfortable with others whom they have come to know through being a member of Hear Us.”

“A fun, vibrant, busy and meaningful event.  Some of the service users I met on the day have since contacted me to join up!” – Jim Ellis from SUITE

Loved the Christmas do, so much energy in the room. It was so nice to be able to see people from all aspects of the mental health community in Croydon meeting each other and enjoying themselves in a social setting, being somewhere that people could have fun and relax together is such a rare thing. The Relaxation room was a brilliant idea, a valuable place for people to treat themselves away from the hustle of the main hall. All the therapists in the room were fully booked!

Hear Us worked so hard and it really paid off!

Dora Crook

Social Inclusion Coordinator

Active Minds (part of Mind in Croydon)


“Just wanted to say how amazing I thought the event was yesterday and what a huge, incredible achievement it was for Hear Us to have so many people in the community represented… There were so many people there but also so many organisations represented in the information room, plus all the treatments etc”


“I thought it was a really good event and the patients that went from here certainly spoke highly of it” – Barry Jones Psychiatrist from Touchstone, Croydon’s Personality Disorder Service.

“Great, what a brilliant turn out ey, I’ve never been to a Hear Us party but I wasn’t expecting that many!”

Charlotte Ross
Vocational Specialist – South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
CCOS – Croydon Community Opportunities Service.

“We managed to make contact with several carers and have added them to our mailing list. It was also good to network with other organisations.Lovely to see the event so well attended and everybody enjoying themselves. 

Ruth Laws
Volunteer & Training Coordinator
Carers Information Service

Candlelit Chant Evening – Book ASAP!

A multi/non-faith serene, uplifting chant evening to relax and begin the busy week in a calm space.

Event Flyer CLICK HERE:Chant Evening Flyer – 19th December 2011

Chanting with Kate MacKenzie and Catherine Pestano. If you heard about the delightful Crystal Palace event in September you might like to try this serene and uplifting session in the midst of your busy week.
– Multi and non faith chants to relax you and allow for free improvisation as we settle into different chants.

When?: Monday 19th December 2011
What time?: 7.30pm – 9pm
Where?: Holy Innocents Church,
Selhurst Road
SE25 6XX
close to buses

A beautiful range from Catherine and Kate, accompanied by drum and harmonium. All ages welcome, as long as they can participate fully and appropriately. If you hope to come to this please book and pay as soon as possible as it may otherwise be need necessary to cancel due to low numbers. This would be a shame if some of you hope to come but just haven’t quite got round to it yet!
Help it to happen – Book now!

£10/ 7 in advance, £12 on the door no concessions. Flat access.

For details and to pay, please contact:
Email: Tel: 07981 298 541

– Venue is a tranquil oasis for you in the holiday season. Bookings payable to
Cornerstone House,
14 Willis Rd,
CR0 2XX.

The TWIG blog provides links to other organisations for information and convenience only. Links to external websites have been checked, however TWIG is not responsible for the content of these third party websites. The views and opinions expressed on the third party sites or expressed by groups related to the third party sites do not necessarily reflect that of TWIG.

Come and discuss Mental Health Services in your area!

Short Notice Event!
Make A Difference – Make your voice heard!

Come and discuss Mental Health Services in your area – Come along and give your views.
At this meeting you will have the chance to talk about mental health provision in the coming year and will be able to provide input.

View the official communication about this event CLICK HERE:Public Consultation with SLaM 2011

This meeting is for Southwark services (also for Lambeth services and Lewisham services):
When?: 7th December 2011
What time?: 5.30pm to 7.30pm
Where: Peckham Library
5th Floor
122 Peckham High Street
SE15 5JR

This meeting will help with the development of SLaM’s Annual Plan.

No booking needed – just turn up!
However if you have Enquiries please contact:
Carol Stevenson
Tel: 0203 228 2441 or Email:


World AIDS Day – Screening and Information Event

Please come along to this event to raise awareness of the importance of Diagnosing HIV Early

On December the 1st its World AIDS Day
We’re all familiar with the terms AIDS and HIV but what do they stand for?: HIV = Human Immunity Virus and this is AIDS before it manifests itself in its most harmful form: AIDS = Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndrome and that means that the disease has become fully active in the body. However AIDS only breaks down your body’s natural defence systems – treatments exist that can bolster your immune system so its so important for people to make sure whether they have the disease or not as treatment is at hand.

View the flyer for this event CLICK HERE:World AIDS Day Event – Free testing – Information – 1st Dec 2011

World Aids Day Event
When?: 1st December 2011
What time?: 12:30pm – 2pm
Where?: King’s Boardroom
King’s College Hospital
Denmark Hill

Did you know? Our Local Population has the highest number of HIV cases in the UK
– Diagnosing HIV early saves lives and prevents transmission.

No need to book in advance – but if you would like to or if you have any questions please contact:
Dr Melinda Tenant
Consultant HIV/Sexual Health



SUNLOWS – Psychiatric Medication? Your Questions Answered!

Why it is prescribed? What is the right dose and how do I get it? Why don’t some patients take it? What does it feel like? How do carers feel about it being given to their loved ones? Do you want to know research evidence from a variety of professional and service-user perspectives?

This is a FREE event for mental health service-users (including carers) who are interested in research undertaken by the Mental Health Research Network in London, the South East, and

Speakers to include:
■ Prof Peter Tyrer
■ Prof Louis Wolpert
■ Dr Joanna Moncrieff
■ Prof Hugh Middleton
■ Isabel Clarke

View the flyer for this event CLICK HERE: SUNLOWS Medication Information Event

When?: 4th January 2012
Where?: Kings College London
Waterloo Campus
Franklin Wilkins Building
Stamford Street

This is a FREE event for mental health service-users (including
carers) who are interested in research undertaken by the Mental
Health Research Network in London, the South East, and Oxfordshire.
To book a place at this event please contact:
Stu Morris
Email: or Tel: 020 7848 5015
There are limited places so book now to avoid disappointment!

Sunlows website:


The Step Up Mental Health Project

The Step Up project works with African and African-Caribbean men aged 30-45 who live in Lewisham.
This is an opportunity available to men who fall in this category who would like to develop new networks, increase skills and confidence to enter training and employment.

View the flyer for this initiative CLICK HERE:Advert For Step Up Mental Health Project

When?: Thursday 12th January 2012
What time?: 10am or 2pm slots
Where?: 2000 Community Action Centre,
199-201 Grove Street

Sessions: Attendees are expected to attend 4 three hour sessions over 4 weeks

* Lunch will be served between 1pm and 2pm *
– Numbers: Limited to 12 per slot, so book your slot fast!

Items set to be covered:
 Literacy & ICT  Workforce development  Health and Well being workshops  1-2-1 support and goal setting  Participants to undertake volunteering opportunities

TO BOOK: If you are interested as a participant or have a group and/or individuals who you would like to attend, please email and/or contact:
Maurice Kennedy
Tel: 07972 276 944 – for more information and to register.


Working with new ‘Kings Health Partners’ to Develop a Questionnaire

This is an interesting opportunity to work with the newly formed Kings Health Partners to develop a questionnaire to find out how service users feel about sharing details across the hospitals.

To do what?: To attend a meeting to work with staff to develop some questions that will be part of a questionnaire to find out what people think about a proposal to share some (non clinical) patient details between the hospitals that make up Kings Health Partnership.

View the information leaflet for this opening CLICK HERE:Kings Health Partners developing of Questionairre About Information Sharing

When?: Tuesday 13th December
What time?: 2 – 4pm
Where?: Kings College Hospital
Denmark Hill

Kings College Hospital, Guys & St. Thomas’, & South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust have come together to form Kings Health Partners – an academic health sciences centre. There is some work going on to explore how administrative systems could be improved to make sure that personal details such as address etc are kept up to date when there are changes. Part of this work is to find out what people who use services in all of the hospitals think about the idea of sharing some basic information across the three hospital sites. The aim is to develop a questionnaire that allows service users / carers to identify their support for the idea as well as any concerns that they may have.
It is important that people who use or have used SLaM services are involved in developing the questionnaire to ensure that we are asking the right questions.

To find out more details and what skills and / or experience are needed and also about payment and support – remember to view the information leaflet for this opening CLICK HERE:Kings Health Partners developing of Questionairre About Information Sharing

For more information, to register your interest or for an informal chat about this opportunity, please contact:
Alice Glover
Tel: 020 3228 0959 Email: