60 seconds with...Althea Bart | #TeamBartsHealth blogs

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60 seconds with...Althea Bart

Althea Bart

We talked to Althea, our new head of community participation at Whipps Cross, about her role, the work with the local community and how staff, patients, and the local community can get involved in what she does. 


1. Can you tell us more about your role?

I'm the new Head of Community Participation at Whipps Cross, my role is new and exciting as I work with local communities that the hospital serves, to capture the views and opinions of people that we do not usually hear from. This information feeds into service transformation and the hospital redevelopment.

My role involves taking the hospital out into the community. I also have a remit around supporting the hospital to become an anchor organisation and using the resources that hospital has to invest in locally. I'm focusing on engaging with communities to hear new and diverse voices.


2. What a day to day looks like?

I'm new in post and at the moment it all feels very new. My day involves meeting with colleagues, residents and the Community Voluntary Sector to develop ways of working together better. My focus is on building good relationships in the Whipss Cross catchment area (Waltham Forest, Redbridge and parts of West Essex) to improve involvement in service transformation and the hospital redevelopment.


3. What do you enjoy the most about your role so far?

I love community work. I really enjoy working with people to create solutions to local challenges. I think it's fantastic when a community comes together!


4. What’s your vision for your role? What are you hoping to achieve?

I would like to lay the foundations for really good engagement across the board at the hospital - with communities, providers, partners and patients. Ideally I would like the hospital to be recognised for its achievements in terms of engagement and inclusion. I'm aiming for Whipps Cross to be a leader in meaningful engagement and be an example of best practise.


5. What are some of your plans in terms of working with the local community?

The redevelopment team are really keen to get more people involved in service transformation and the redevelopment of the hospital. The redevelopment team would like to set up a media group and they want to hear from people that have an interest in media, who can support the communications team to review all of their materials and resources before they go public.

I think the first milestone is the recruitment and development of a team of community champions/ambassadors recruited from the staff team at Whipps Cross and communities. The aim is to have people out in the community and in the hospital that are passionate about community engagement and encourage people to get involved.

We would love to speak to people (staff, patients and carers) that work or have used services like the End of Life and Palliative Care, Maternity and the Eye Treatment Centre.

6. How can staff and the local community get involved or take part in what you do?

We are in the process of creating an engagement newsletter that will have all of the engagement opportunities including volunteering, patient experience, service transformation and employment listed. I'm hoping this will make it easier for people to get involved in the areas that they are interested in.

If you have an idea for a project or would like help with an engagement please contact me by email


7. Why is community participation important for Whipps Cross?

With the implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan and the redevelopment of the hospital, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to review services and systems to ensure they are patient focused, accessible, and equitable for all.


If you'd like to know more about Althea's work or would like to get involved, get in touch with her - we would love to hear from staff, patients and communities alike.


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