South East London Integrated Care System brings together local organisations from across south east London, who are responsible for delivering health and care services.
It has been recognised that individual organisations cannot address the health challenges that local people experience on their own.
Working in partnership means that local organisations can share information, data and resources, to provide more joined-up care for local people.
South East London Integrated Care system has outlined six priorities for delivering health and care services, to ensure that these services meet the needs of our diverse communities.
One of these priorities is to deliver compassionate, whole person care in the community where possible. This will be achieved by building meaningful relationships with services users and local people, to provide care and support for not just their physical needs, but also their mental health and social needs.
Care in the community: Blackfriars Settlement
One example of delivering whole person, compassionate care in Southwark is through the Blackfriars Settlement, an organisation which offers a wide range of services and activities, supporting people to achieve their goals and improve their well-being.
They offer a number of services, including their befriending scheme, which has been instrumental in supporting local people to take part in their community, make friends and reducing social isolation.
Faith is 88 years old and was struggling with social isolation as well as having difficulty with household tasks. She was referred to the befriending services at local community organisation Blackfriars Settlement during Covid-19 lockdown by the social prescribing service via her GP.
Following assessment by the befriending officer she was matched with a volunteer who called her every week. The volunteer reported that Faith was missing going to church and seeing her friends due to Covid restrictions. Since restrictions were eased, her volunteer now visits regularly.
As Faith has a history of falls and has had a hip replacement as well as a pacemaker, Faith has been attending Strength and Balance exercise classes on the advice of the healthcare staff at the falls clinic and this has improved her stability as well as her confidence.
Living on the third floor with a regularly broken down lift is an additional challenge for Faith, but the team at Blackfriars settlement have referred her to Age UK Lewisham and Southwark for housing advice and to help her bid with Southwark Housing for a more appropriate property.
The close partnership working between agencies and the community and voluntary sector with multidisciplinary teams supporting Faith has meant that she feels safe and cared for, has made friends at her local group and she reports that she feels less isolated and now looks forward to Friday to get out of the house and see her friends.
The Positive Ageing Team at Blackfriars Settlement commented: “Faith seems much more confident in getting out and about to see her friends and attend the groups that bring her joy. It has been really satisfying working with her to link her up with the wide range of support available, from community and faith groups to healthcare and housing. Working in this way has improved Faith’s daily life and she’s feeling more supported and comfortable as a result”.