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NHS patients now get personal health budgets at their local Tower Hamlets GPs

PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 September 2019

The NHS at work in east London. Picture: Steve Debenport

The NHS at work in east London. Picture: Steve Debenport

Steve Debenport

Hundreds of patients have been given their own personal health budgets by their GPs in the East End to give them control over what services they choose.

GPs in partnership with hospitals like the Royal London are helping ease pressure on A&E. Picture: Mike BrookeGPs in partnership with hospitals like the Royal London are helping ease pressure on A&E. Picture: Mike Brooke

The NHS has now set up 530 personal accounts with surgeries since they were introduced last year.

The figure emerged at Tower Hamlets clinical commissioning group's AGM looking at NHS services over the past 12 months.

Personal budgets was one of the moves to speed up health care, along with the launch of a minor eye service and an urgent care centre opened at the Royal London Hospital to ease pressure on A&E and keep it free for emergencies.

The aim of the commissioning group, which plans health care for 35 GP practices, is to create better access to more efficient services.

"We are improving access with our new services," the commissioning group's chairman Dr Sam Everington said. "We have launched the urgent care centre at the Royal London and are soon opening the life sciences centre in Whitechapel to put the East End of London on the international map."

The commissioning group met its financial commitments to balance the books, according to its accounts, and being transparent about spending taxpayers' money.

Accountable officer Jane Milligan says in her report: "Involving the population is a priority for us. Working together has enabled us to develop a charter with the public."

New urgent treatment centre opens at Royal London to speed treatment and ease pressure on A&E. Picture: Barts HealthNew urgent treatment centre opens at Royal London to speed treatment and ease pressure on A&E. Picture: Barts Health

The past 12 months has seen several innovations for the NHS in east London, the report shows, such as the personal budgets rolled out to 530 GP patients.

They also include the emergence of an integrated care system where hospitals now work with Tower Hamlets Council, homeless charities and the Met Police to tackle rough sleeping.

Homeless people in hospital are being referred to care programmes rather than discharged back onto the streets where they are vulnerable to continued ill health.

This has helped break the cycle of retuning to hospital time and again, reducing the bed shortage crisis and costs to the NHS.

The year has also seen Barts Health NHS Trust being taken out of special measures with the Royal London moving from Requires Improvement to a Good rating.

The annual report looks ahead to the next 12 moths where an NHS Long Term Plan is to continue developing the integrated care system for patients.

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