Collaboration and co-operation are the cornerstones of the NHS approach to health and care as together we face unprecedented operational and financial challenges.
Barts Health has led the way in seeking new operating models, initially by working as a group of hospitals and latterly by working ever more closely with neighbours at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT).
The two trusts are exploring efficiencies through shared corporate services like payroll, procurement and recruitment, while Barts Health is helping BHRUT implement its new electronic patient record so we will have a common patient administration system.
In recognition of the progress made so far, and the rapid development of provider collaboratives across London, NHS England has asked us to consider how we could work together to cover all acute providers in north east London.
This means primarily working through the framework offered by our integrated health system’s acute provider collaborative (APC), which includes Homerton Healthcare.
We are already active in the APC, alongside the North East London integrated care board, in creating a network of clinical boards to oversee strategy and standards.
The three trusts are also taking a joint approach to planning and organising key services like urgent and emergency care, cancer, critical care, and planned care.
These collaborative arrangements mirror the way the NHS is working across the country to deliver joined-up health and care for the benefit of all patients.
For example, we are successfully pooling mutual resources to reduce waiting lists. So far this year over 3,000 Barts Health patients will have routine surgery at Homerton hospital, while more than 600 patients are being transferred to BHRUT.
Each of the eight hospitals in the APC already play a key role in local place-based partnerships with borough councils, other care providers, and community groups.
In order to prioritise and deepen this three-way collaboration, we have decided to pause the governance changes and joint executive appointments for Barts Health and BHRUT and take forward work on the scope of the APC.
The Rt Hon Jacqui Smith will remain chair in common of the two trusts, working with Shane DeGaris as Group Chief Executive and Matthew Trainer as his deputy. We will retain the three joint non-executive directors, and a joint committee of the two Boards will continue to oversee existing collaboration efforts.
Jacqui Smith said: “Our aim remains to create the conditions in which clinicians can collaborate more easily, and our hospitals routinely work together to improve services for patients.
“I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together and excited by the prospect of what we can deliver as we broaden our collaborative efforts to benefit all of the two million residents of north east London.
“We want our patients to have fair access to the best possible care, wherever they live, through strong local hospitals with links to specialist facilities, supported by cost-effective infrastructure offering better opportunities for our staff.”