Merton teams up to improve health in the borough

Merton Council and Sutton and Merton Primary Care Trust (PCT) have joined forces to improve the health of Merton residents and further develop the borough’s health and social care services as part of a new healthier communities strategy – the first of its kind in the borough.

As part of the strategy the council and the PCT will be focusing on four key areas, including tackling obesity, cutting smoking, improving mental health as well as providing a better choice for patients and those using social services. It will enable the organisations to co-ordinate the health agencies available to residents and help them commission the services people need.

The plans look at the many social conditions which have an impact on residents’ health, and in particular the importance of tackling poverty and unemployment and promoting learning and skills development. Merton Council and the PCT have already commissioned the Happy Souls Festival – a pilot scheme to help those suffering from alcohol abuse and mental health problems – with the help of the library service, South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust and mental health charity Imagine.

Merton Council’s cabinet member for housing, adult care and health, Councillor Linda Scott said: “Improving the physical and mental health of those people living in Merton is one of the council’s top priorities. We are working closely with the PCT on this new strategy, which will help us tackle local residents’ health concerns.”

Mary Hopper, assistant director, joint commissioning, Merton PCT, said: “By working in partnership with the council, we can make a real difference to local people’s health and wellbeing. There is lots of exciting work going on, and we look forward to implementing the strategy.”