10 April 2017

Tower Hamlets Together, the partnership of local health and social care organisations in the borough, is celebrating its two-year anniversary of being awarded ‘vanguard’ status to develop pioneering ways to provide care to its communities. 

ELFT used the opportunity to get a celebratory cake and invited the new Tower Hamlets community health staff to a drop-in coffee morning with Chair Marie Gabriel.  The staff transferred from Barts Health on 1 April so this was a chance to say Welcome.

Back in 2015, NHS England invited health and social care organisations to bid for funding to become part the NHS New Care Models programme – established with the aim of exploring new and innovative ways to provide the best ever standards of care. This was in response to rapidly increasing demand for care from an ageing population as well as recognition of the opportunities to improve quality and efficiency through closer working between health and social care services.

Tower Hamlets was one of 50 sites nationally to successfully bid for funding which would support a three-year programme of work. As the partnership looks ahead to the final year of funding, it’s reflecting on achievements so far as well as its priorities for the next 12 months. 

The Tower Hamlets Together programme comprises three main strands of work – improving services for children and young people, improving services for adults, in particular those with a long term health condition or who are vulnerable to illness, and finally a focus on prevention and supporting people to lead a healthy life. 

Dr Phil Bennett-Richards, local GP and Chair of the Tower Hamlets Together partnership, said: “Looking back over the last two years it’s fair to say we’ve achieved a great deal in a relatively short period of time. Through the hard work and dedication of staff from all health and social care partners, we’re literally in the process of revolutionising the way care is provided. 

“Tower Hamlets is very unique place with unparalleled diversity in terms of its population. It also faces some of the biggest health challenges in country with healthy life expectancy amongst some of the lowest in the country and high premature death rates from respiratory disease, circulatory disease and cancer. A large percentage of our children live in poverty and rates of obesity and tooth decay are particularly high.

“By working together as a health and social system, rather than separate organisations, we’re making Tower Hamlets a healthier place to live. I’m excited for what the next 12 months will bring as we start to see many of our projects come to fruition and begin to make a real impact in terms of improving health and wellbeing.”

Each of the three main strands of work are made up of a number of smaller projects, all of which have the common goal to improve health and wellbeing. 

Denise Radley, Corporate Director for Health, Adults and Community for London Borough of Tower Hamlets, added: “I am proud of the difference we are making through our Tower Hamlets Together partnership and we are ambitious to achieve more. 

“We are developing new, more effective ways to provide care and support in people’s homes and a more focused and personalised service for children with complex health needs. We are also placing a large emphasis on prevention by supporting people to live healthier, more independent lives and helping them take control of managing their own health. 

“Helping people achieve good mental health and wellbeing is central to our integrated approach and local services help people to live independently in the community with access to excellent care and support when needed.  

“Satisfaction rates with adult social care services have increased this year and are higher than the average rates in London. In addition, 82 percent of patients supported through our integrated care teams report that they helped write their care plan”.  

Simon Hall, Acting Chief Officer for NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “One of the key aspects of our partnership work which underpins much of the Tower Hamlets Together programme is the alliance contract we have awarded to provide community services in the Borough. This will enable us to develop integrated health, mental health and social care teams, working with local GP practices and the voluntary sector, to provide better care closer to home for those that need it.”