Back to news

​Modernising mental health services

The Clinical Commissioning Groups in Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth and NHS England have published today their report on the outcome of the mental health inpatient consultation which ran between September and December 2014. The CCG governing bodies and NHS England will consider the revised proposals at meetings over the next three weeks1.

The consultation was about mental health service changes and the development of new inpatient facilities run by South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust2. The preferred option was to build two new mental health facilities at Springfield University Hospital and Tolworth Hospital. These two centres will be completely paid for with a £160 million investment from the sale of surplus land mainly on the current Springfield University Hospital site.

During the consultation period commissioners wrote to over 7,000 people including staff, service users, family members, carers, voluntary groups, local councils,elected representatives and health and social care partners. We also placed adverts in local papers, set up a dedicated Twitter account, email address, phone line and web page. Finally as well as the five main public events we hosted, commissioners also attended 74 meetings throughout the area and ran a webinar about the national specialised services.

283 people responded to the consultation survey, we received 76 letters and emails and 191 people attended our five main engagement events, as well as the hundreds of other people we talked to at the 74 meetings throughout the five boroughs. Most people who responded strongly agreed with the need for change and with our proposals for two centres of excellence at Springfield and Tolworth for the national and local services. You can read the full independent report about the consultation online here.

Taking into account the feedback from public consultation and the clinical case for change, the recommendation in the report is to support the preferred option of building two new centres of excellence at Springfield and Tolworth.  The report also recommends a number of improvements to the proposals following direct feedback from the consultation. These include keeping adult deaf services on the Springfield site, a commitment to investing in Home Treatment teams in all five boroughs and working with service users and families to agree improvements to travel plans through a travel steering group. The new centres will also provide visitor rooms on every ward and overnight accommodation at Tolworth for carers visiting children or specialised care patients.

There is also flexibility around bed numbers with contingency for a seventh adult mental health ward built into development plans. The new hospitals would not open before 2021 and we will be working together to have more developed community services in place before this time.

We have also heard from some people that they would like us to reconsider keeping children's inpatient services on the Springfield site. NHS England is currently expected to recommend that children's inpatient services be provided from the Tolworth site on the basis of the Trust's initial estimate of the additional capital cost of providing the service from Springfield. This is subject to the Trust undertaking further work on those capital costs which they will complete prior to the decision being made.

As a result of consultation and feedback from people living in Richmond, Barnes and Roehampton, the Trust will be working with local partners to investigate using part of the Barnes Hospital site for older people's clinical services.

Dr Phil Moore, Mental Health Clinical Lead for Kingston CCG, says "We are still delivering some mental health services using buildings first constructed over 150 years ago. Whilst such environments do not stop us from providing high quality care, operating from these buildings continually forces us to make compromises. We compromise on the dignity and respect of the people we look after at an incredibly vulnerable time in their lives. We compromise on the efficiency of our services. We compromise on the motivation of our staff by demanding their very highest standards whilst asking them to work in an environment we know is difficult. We believe the end of the era of compromise is long overdue.

"The public consultation has been very helpful. We have learned a lot, not just from the formal responses we received, but from the many meetings we have attended and the questions people have raised. We have listened to the feedback from the consultation and now feel we have the best possible proposals for mental health services in south west London.  Mental health patients deserve the very best possible treatment and care in an environment that supports their recovery.

"It is now for the CCG governing bodies and NHS England to consider the recommendations over the next few weeks and make a decision

David Bradley, Chief Executive of South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust, says "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to build two new state-of-the art hospitals which will make sure the people who need our help can get the best care and treatment in the best facilities possible. The CCG's commitment to invest further in community mental health services means we will be able to help people get better closer to home. This will make a very real and lasting difference to the lives of all the people who use our services".

Read the full report online at or visit our mental health page