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Cultivating closer collaboration

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The two largest trusts in north east London are responding to NHS pressures by working ever more closely together as an integrated group of seven hospitals.

Barts Health and Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT) believe that together they can more effectively meet the challenges of delivering sustainable improvements for their populations.

Their collaboration builds on the Barts Health model of localising where possible but centralising where necessary - devolving operational responsibility to each hospital while using the scale of the group to leverage efficiencies and ensure equity.

Shane Degaris, group chief executive for both, said:

“As one group, the two Trusts will support each of our seven hospitals to improve further by doing what we can best do together, and thereby strengthen acute services across north east London.”

Mr Degaris took on the role a year ago, following the appointment of Jacqui Smith as Chair in common, supported by Matthew Trainer of BHRUT as deputy and a panel of joint non-executive directors.

The two organisations will now work to design the strategy, culture, and leadership of an integrated group of seven hospitals within the framework of two statutory Boards.

Each hospital will also play a significant local role in partnership with borough councils, community and voluntary organisations to keep people healthy, so they don’t need hospital treatment in the first place and can get home quickly if they do. 

A joint Board report this week highlights how the trusts are developing shared approaches to workforce, estates, digital, procurement and financial planning.

  • Reducing reliance on agency staff by aligning temporary pay rates
  • Getting best value from Bank staff through a common approach
  • Sharing expertise on procurement practice
  • Establishing a joint sustainability team to become net zero  
  • Enabling BHRUT develop an electronic patient record system

This work feeds naturally into the Acute Provider Collaborative (APC) for north east London, which is taking a co-ordinated approach to population needs to arrange services around patients, not organisational boundaries.

The two trusts are working with Homerton Healthcare on improving and transforming six areas: urgent and emergency care, planned care, cancer, maternity, critical care, and babies, children and young people.

They are also bringing clinical leaders together through common networks to oversee standards and agree an overarching strategy to meet the diverse health needs of a growing population.

Closer collaboration is a key element of the strategic direction set out in We are Barts Health this week as the trust develops its annual Group Operating Plan.

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