This is the first edition of a regular publication to keep staff and partners up to date with the Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare and Kingston Hospital Better Together programme.
We launched the programme before Christmas to steer our closer working arrangements as we move towards more joined up care that will better address the evolving needs of our local population. By coming together, we have an opportunity to share knowledge and resilience across our teams to improve care and overall patient experience. I hope that you will find this regular update useful, and we will post all of our updates on our Better Together microsite.
One of the first steps we are taking is bringing the two executive teams into one team working across both organisations.
With support from workforce colleagues in both trusts, we have been talking to executive directors about what this means for them and continue to support them through the consultation on proposals for a single executive.
We have also been talking to our Staff Side reps about this work and will share more information about it with you when we can.
In the meantime, we have been talking to partners across all of our boroughs to keep you updated on our current and future plans. We have also launched a Better Together microsite:
We believe our plans will give us a much better opportunity to share expertise and best practice to help more patient care to be delivered in the community, closer to people’s homes, rather than in hospital.
To support and guide us in this, we will work with our staff, partners and local people to develop a new vision, objectives and set of values – and we look forward to involving everyone in this.
Together, we have agreed some principles, which underpin our Partnership Agreement and set out the key factors that will ensure a successful relationship. The agreement is designed to allow the partnership to evolve and, if required, to act as a stepping stone to an alternative model in future.
We are already beginning to see the benefits of working together. At HRCH, our joint working with partners in Hounslow was already well developed, particularly in our work supporting primary care networks, and this is something we can learn from in other areas.
We have opened a joint transfer of care hub for Kingston and Richmond, similar to our existing community discharge hub in Hounslow. These hubs are improving communication and working practices between our teams, further enabling us to share resource and skills more easily. Through this and other service initiatives we are able to provide better, more responsive services to our service users.
We are also working together to provide care and support for people in Kingston and Richmond who are suffering the effects of Long COVID. Again, this has given us an opportunity to come together and provide care which is more joined up for people in our communities.
Our allied health professionals (AHP) workforce has also recently gained a joined strategic lead, Caroline Hopper, to take up the challenge of the NHS Long Term Plan by working closely with professionals in both organisations to inform a co-produced strategy which places AHPs at the heart of new prevention based pathways which keep people at home for as long as possible.
Caroline will work in partnership with Clare Miller, AHP Lead at HRCH, to ensure that the care we provide across Hounslow, Kingston and Richmond is proactive and responsive to the changing needs of our local populations.
Find out more about this work in the video below.
Another new partnership project operating across Kingston and Richmond is our volunteer falls project. This is helping elderly residents to be independent by matching trained volunteers to people who need support with exercises following a fall or other injury.
The programme is run alongside Helpforce, who work with healthcare organisations to increase volunteering opportunities and accelerate their impact, leading to improved outcomes.
These are fantastic examples of co-creating innovative solutions across organisational boundaries that have a genuine benefit for the people we care for.
Internally, we have established joint committees for infection prevention and control, quality governance and safeguarding. This means we will be able to agree things once across two organisations, rather than duplicating, and doing these things differently, which will save time and ensure consistency for service users in our communities.
We are working though the governance arrangements to progress the Better Together partnership, which includes a governance group with members from both organisations (including non-executive directors) working up how we will make decisions from April onwards.
We have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding that sets out a formal commitment to the Better Together programme, and gives us the flexibility to add additional partner organisations at a later date.
We will remain as individual trusts, but we aim to establish a Committee in Common from 1 April, which will make key strategic decisions. This will streamline decision making and focus on collaboration to improve outcomes for local people.
We will continue to keep you updated as we progress in this journey and look forward to the exciting opportunities this partnership will create.