We know that working together as one team with other local health and care organisations makes us stronger to provide the joined up health and care services that local people want, which are fair for all and provide good value for money.

Currently health and care services are not joined up but the way organisations have worked together during the COVID-19 pandemic proves we can do more and be better if we work together.

The boards of Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust (HRCH) and Kington Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KHFT) have been discussing the next steps in our collaboration – ones that result in greater benefits for patients and staff.

Watch the video below from our joint Chief Executive, Jo Farrar, about why we feel coming together in this way is good for patients, staff and our partners.

What are the benefits?

We know that one of the biggest issues people complain about in the NHS is poor communication – as well as services that are not joined up and a system that is difficult to navigate. Patients wait longer than they should, and this issue is only likely to increase as more people live longer and with increasingly complex conditions. By coming together, we have an opportunity to share knowledge and resilience across NHS teams to improve care and overall patient experience. For staff, this partnership will also lead to a much broader range of career opportunities as well as the ability to move between NHS organisations, which will help us to retain NHS staff in our local services.

Coming together and sharing our resources better will also allow us to achieve things that we could never do as individual organisations – removing barriers to care and providing services that meet the needs of local people in a far more holistic way.

Following the government’s white paper, we know that the future of the NHS lies in creating closer and more dynamic partnerships between organisations. By coming together now, we will be able to chart our own path in a way that benefits the local people we serve and the people who work with us.

In other parts of the country where organisations have come together in this way, the results have included reduced hospital stays and more people able to maintain their independence at home.

Visit our case studies section to find out more about the ways integrated working benefits patients and staff.

Partnership principles

We have developed a number of principles that run through the Better Together programme.

  1. Test of any change: It benefits patients or our population, builds resilience and has value for money.
  2. Parity of esteem: Equal voice for acute and community services, where there is consensual approach to reaching shared decisions.
  3. Drivers of our collective activity would enrich staff, broaden their experiences and support innovation.
  4. Patients and staff are actively engaged in shaping and informing our collaborative work.
  5. Operating model supports Place and local delivery, and helps patients move seamlessly between primary, community and acute care.
  6. Empower our staff to make improvements at scale and pace.
  7. Streamline governance to empower staff.
  8. Where economies of scale are sought, these would be co-designed (ie no asset stripping).

What’s next?

From April 2022, we plan to bring the executive leadership teams of HRCH and KHFT together as one, remaining individual trusts, but establishing a Committee in Common which will be empowered to make key strategic decisions with the benefit of expertise and insight from across the full range of services.

Find out more about our single executive team

Over the coming weeks and months, we will be exploring ways to streamline our governance arrangements. We will also be looking at opportunities to pool resources so we can increase the resilience of some of our smaller teams who are faced with ever rising demand and complexity of caseload.

Strategic aims

The two boards have developed and agreed a number of strategic aims to guide us in this work.

  • Genuine focus on population health management
  • Close engagement across our three boroughs to co-design services
  • Everything we do must improve patient outcomes and experience
  • Deliver truly integrated pathways
  • Further integration with primary care networks
  • Leading role in ‘place’
  • Strengthen partnership working with Your Healthcare
  • Make best use of resources
  • Work at scale, giving greater resilience and opportunities
  • Continue to support Hounslow primary care and leadership in integrated care
  • Be a responsive and innovative partner
  • Standardise best practice
  • Enhance workforce opportunities – local employer of choice

The way ahead

We will work with our staff, as well as with other partners and local people, to develop a new vision, clear objectives, and a shared set of values for our shared work.

We are really excited about this new opportunity to create a vibrant, supportive culture where staff can develop, innovate, deliver, and support outstanding care for the people of Hounslow, Kingston and Richmond.

Nurse and elderly patient