Health Sector Horizon Scanning: The Perspective of NHS East London and the City, Tower Hamlets GP Consortium and Tower Hamlets Involvement Network
To receive presentations from key stakeholders.
Ms J. Milligan (NHS East London & City/Tower Hamlets PCT) and Mr A. Camp (Vice-Chair, East London & City PCT) made a presentation detailing the changes in the NHS structure locally, including the position regarding Primary Care Trust arrangements and the Commissioning Service. PCTs would be abolished in April 2013 and information was supplied to the Panel concerning proposals for future service delivery and efficiency savings. Health Service staff were eager to engage with Council personnel so as to achieve the best possible results. It was important to ensure that a Joint Improvement Wellbeing Strategy was put in place, along with a Joint Borough Plan, to make sure that networking principles were observed and care was delivered in the right place and at the right time.
The presentation then focussed on the following points for Public Health Priorities:
Public Health Transition
- Positioning with the Local Authority
- Ensuring good links with NHS commissioning
Joint Strategic Needs Assessment
- Influence on commissioning priorities
- Joint health and wellbeing strategy
Tackling Inequalities in Health
- Poverty and the wider determinants
- Inequalities within Tower Hamlets
- Focus on Early Years
Reducing Premature Morbidity and Mortality
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Respiratory Disease
Supporting Behaviour Change and Healthy Lives
- Tobacco control
- Physical activity, healthy eating and obesity
- Alcohol and substance misuse
- Sexual health
Health Protection and Emergency Planning
- Pandemic flu preparedness
- Olympic Games planning
Dr Sam Etherington, a local GP and Chair of the Tower Hamlets NHS Consortium, described the evolutionary approach being taken by the GP Board, comprising eight GPs elected from the eight local LAP areas, to look at integration with the London Hospital and best use of resources. He made the point, however, that despite high levels of commitment by professionals, the health of Tower Hamlets residents could be poor from an early age. A paper was also circulated setting out the local issues contributing to health inequalities compared to the rest of the country.
Ms Dianne Barham, THINk Director, also circulated a paper and made a presentation demonstrating how the organisation engaged with the community and analysed feedback of their comments. She outlined the powers of THINk to require responses to recommendations made to health providers, together with further action open to the organisation. She then provided detailed information concerning the current numbers of THINk representatives, together with statistical information on the requests for information made and recommendations provided, arising from visits undertaken to health and social care providers’ premises.
Ms Barham then described how THINk members engaged with GPs, including the piloting of a project in LAP6 to get people actively engaged with commissioners, aimed at establishing service scrutiny at a very local level. She further outlined the THINk work programme and Local Health Watch activities that would help review older people’s services across health care, looking at obtaining pathfinder status with an independent complaints and arbitration service.
The Chair commented that, whilst this was the first meeting of the Panel for the year, she felt that a great start had been made on setting the stage for developments in the NHS and its links with the Council.
Councillors Pavitt and Edgar, together with the Chair, declared personal interests in that they were, or intended to become, THINk members.
Members then asked detailed questions on a number of issues including the costs involved in NHS changes; the need to involve the BME community in proposed developments; the new clinical commissioning Board structure and how a voice for the BME community could be represented; how people could best be made aware of services available and appropriate delivery points, including the home.
The NHS representatives present provided in-depth responses from the point of view of the local GP Body and the overall management perspective, on ways to inform and engage all sectors of the community.
The Chair stated that the Panel this year was interested in working with other stakeholders and service providers outside of a strictly formal setting and there would be opportunities arising from structural change to bring together Councillors and other interested parties to secure service improvements. She thanked Ms Milligan, Mr Camp and Ms Barham for their presentations, the contents of which were noted by the Panel.