A £300,000 project has been launched in a bid to ease pressure on A&E staff at St George's Hospital.
The scheme by South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust will place more mental health nurses at the Tooting hospital's A&E department, and allow quicker discharges from mental health wards in order to free up space during busy periods.
It is hoped the extra nurses will be able to help to determine what care mental health patients need and where they need it.
They will also assist with transfers to more appropriate places for ongoing treatment, thus freeing up a bed in the hospital. The trust has also added an extra discharge co-ordinator to help discharge patients who are fit to leave hospital but where arrangements are not yet in place.
The trust provides inpatient and outpatient services, social care and home support to people in Wandsworth, Kingston, Richmond, Sutton and Merton.
The trust's director of operations Dawn Chamberlain, said: “We have always worked closely with our partner acute hospitals and this demonstrates the strength of our joint commitment to keep patient care effective at a time of increased pressure.
“We know from experience that there is always increased demand for NHS services during the winter.
"We are always looking for fresh means of providing high-quality, cost-effective care.
"By having our highly-trained mental health nurses on hand at both A&E and in home treatment services we can make an immediate impact as soon someone needs our help.”
Miles Scott, chief executive of St George’s NHS Trust, said: “We welcome any chance to work in partnership with our colleagues in mental health, especially during pinch points in the year.
“One in four people will have mental health problems at some point in their life so it makes sense to have mental health nurses on site and ready to support our traditional nursing staff.”