NHS services sign up to ‘Tower Hamlets Together’ in £185m deal for ‘joined up’ health care

PUBLISHED: 16:52 03 April 2017 | UPDATED: 01:36 05 April 2017

Tower Hamlets Together... new NHS 'joined up' services

Tower Hamlets Together... new NHS 'joined up' services

Nathan Clarke

More “self help” health care at home and shorter stays in hospital are among new arrangements unveiled for NHS patients in London’s deprived East End.

NHS services coming together in London's East End [pictures: Nathan Clarke]NHS services coming together in London's East End [pictures: Nathan Clarke]

A new ‘Tower Hamlets Together’ partnership began on Saturday for “joined up services” with an agreement between GPs, hospitals and community health professions with a single shared medical record for patients.

It promises shorter time in hospital with patients shown how to look after themselves at home.

The five-year £185million “alliance” agreement has been signed by Tower Hamlets GPs Clinical Commissioning Group with Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the Royal London and Mile End hospitals, East London NHS Foundation Trust and Tower Hamlets GP Care Group ‘community interest’ company.

“People told us back in 2014 that health services needed to improve,” GP commissioning group’s acting chief officer Simon Hall revealed. “They wanted health care close to home when they needed it—but many services were inconsistent.”

But not all community groups are happy, like Ability Bow therapy and rehab gym which has been offered guidance and even advice on charitable fundraising, but not direct funding. The gym told the East London Advertiser last month that the commissioning group was “unable to provide us with any funds” it sought, to compensate for a £90,000 tender it was unable to bid for to rebuild the rehab service housed at St Paul’s Church in Old Ford.

The new £185m NHS arrangements which began on Saturday, however, aim to reduce duplication for other services such as diabetes nurses, district nurses, speech and language therapists in schools and health centres and stroke rehabilitation helping patients convalesce at home.

Patients still get services from the same centres and same contact numbers, it is pointed out.

But the main change is a new, single point-of-access to health services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, promising “more compassionate care at home” and early hospital discharge where appropriate.

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