Our Narrative

As more and more people choose to live and work in east London, and more of us are living longer, the demand on health and social care services is at an all-time high.

The population here is growing faster than in any other part of the country. Our doctors, nurses, therapists and other health and care professionals are looking after record numbers of people every day.

Despite immense pressures, local hospitals are continuing to treat A&E patients as fast and effectively as in any other major western country.

Our GP, mental health and community services are among the very best in England. Our local councils are providing much-needed, good quality care to the most vulnerable.

It’s thanks to the dedication and hard work of the professionals involved, and the support of many thousands of voluntary carers, community and charity organisations across the area that we are getting the help and care we need.

But change must be allowed to happen, and things improved, if we are to protect the health and care services we value so much, not just for now but for future generations.

The NHS and social care services have constantly adapted and must continue to do so as our community and our health needs also change.

People are being treated with new drugs and clinical care that weren’t available in the past. With this comes an increase in life expectancy, but also a rise in the ailments of old age. More people now have conditions including heart disease, arthritis and Type 2 diabetes.

There are big opportunities to improve things by making common-sense changes to how our health and social care services are run, and enable them to work closer together.

It’s a chance to deliver improvements that matter:

  • to make it easier to see a GP;
  • to speed up cancer diagnosis;
  • to offer better support in the community for people with mental health conditions;
  • to provide care for people closer to their home.

If we do nothing and carry on providing and using services in the way we do now, without any changes, we will not only miss out on these improvements. We will fail to keep up with the growing demand and won’t have enough money to keep services going.

In the east London area alone, there will be a £580m shortfall in funding by 2021. Services and facilities may have to close. Standards of care will suffer.

Change is required, and fast, to help keep us healthy and well in the future and to receive care when we need it.

We all have a part to play in changing things – all those providing the services, and all of us using them. We can all do our bit.

It’s why neighbouring NHS hospitals, community and mental health trusts, family doctors, pharmacies, local councils and others have come together to plan and redesign local health and care services to benefit us all – now and in the years ahead.

Working as the East London Health & Care Partnership, and backed by the leaders of all the organisations involved, they are combining their expertise and resources to develop ways of giving our nurses, doctors and care staff the best chance to look after us when we need them to.

The organisations behind the Partnership are:

NHS

Clinical Commissioning Groups

Barking & Dagenham; City & Hackney; Havering; Newham; Redbridge; Tower Hamlets; Waltham Forest

‘Provider’ Trusts

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust; Barts Health NHS Trust; The Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; East London NHS; Foundation Trust; North East London NHS Foundation Trust

Councils

Barking & Dagenham; City of London Corporation; Hackney; Havering; Newham; Redbridge; Tower Hamlets; Waltham Forest

With a shared goal to help people live healthy and independent lives, the Partnership’s mission is to protect vital services and provide better treatment and care built around the needs of local people, safely and conveniently, closer to home.

A top priority is to reduce the pressures on our hospitals and accident and emergency departments. A&E is all too often used as the only door into health and care services, when ideally people should be supported by NHS 111 staff, GPs, community staff and resources in their own homes. The public themselves. The public wants easier access to GPs.

The Partnership also wants better outcomes for cancer patients, people with diagnosed with diabetes and improvements to mental health services, and to help people become independent with access to care at home.

Reshaping services to provide them in the right place, where people need them most, supported by the right team of staff from across health and social care, with the right resources, is a key and urgent requirement.

The response to the demand on services needs to offer better alternatives that help prevent people’s health deteriorating. This isn’t just to make the most efficient use of the resources and money available, but to provide a better quality of care in the community, where local people have told us they want it.

Improving the hundreds of health and care services for the two million people of east London – a population expected to grow by around 30,000 more people in 2017 alone – is a challenge.

Significant improvements are already being made by joining services together and people are feeling the benefit. The area now has some of the best care provision and facilities in the country, but there is still much to do.

Although they operate safely, some our hospitals aren’t fully equipped to meet the needs of modern healthcare. Waiting times for appointments and treatments must be cut.

More needs to be done to safeguard our most vulnerable people, such as the elderly, disabled and those with mental health difficulties.

‘Barrier busters’

The East London Health & Care Partnership isn’t afraid to tackle these challenges. It will build on the successes achieved so far and bring health and social care service providers even closer together – busting any barriers between them and ensuring services are fully able to meet the needs of local people, now and in future.

The Partnership’s main priorities are:

  • To help local people live healthy and independent lives
  • To improve local health and care services and outcomes
  • To have the right staff in the right place with the right resources to meet the community’s needs
  • To be a well-run, efficient and open Partnership

The Partnership will tackle these priorities across five local areas.

It recognises that while east London faces some common problems, such as the high rate of preventable illnesses and shortage of clinicians and care staff, the make-up and characteristics of the region vary considerably.

The areas are:

  • Barking, Havering and Redbridge
  • City of London & Hackney
  • Newham,
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Waltham Forest

The councils and NHS organisations within them will come together as Local Health & Care Partnerships to ensure the people living there get the right care for their needs. The local planning and control of services is essential.

The wider Partnership will drive forward the things that can only be achieved by all the councils and NHS organisations across east London working together. This includes:

  • good quality urgent and emergency care for the area
  • the availability of specialist clinical treatments
  • a better use of buildings and facilities
  • the recruitment and retention of doctors, nurses and other health and care professionals
  • an increased use of digital technology to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of illness
  • ways of working that put a stop to duplication and unnecessary expense

The involvement of councils is enabling the provision of health and care services to be aligned with the development of housing, transport, employment and education – all of which have a big influence.

But the biggest single factor in the long term is to prevent ill health, and deaths caused by the effects of lifestyle choices such as diet, lack of exercise and smoking.

This is something we can all play a part in; everyone living and working in east London. It’s not just down to the authorities.

All of us can do those little things each day that help us stay healthy and well, such as watching what we eat and drink and being more active.

We will help people do this and also help the lonely to get involved in their local communities. Social isolation has become a bigger killer than smoking.

Using health and care services in the right way can play a big part, too. Rather than go to a doctor or an A&E for every minor ailment, we can get advice from NHS111 first, online or by telephone, or go to a local pharmacist.

We can all do our bit.

If we do, and get behind the work of the East London Health & Care Partnership, the prize is being able to lead healthy and independent lives, and get the care we can trust and rely on when we need it.