Better Together – June 2022

An update from Jo Farrar, Chief Executive

The last few months have seen several significant developments in our Better Together programme, so I wanted to update you on our progress and talk about the next steps.

Last year, we launched Better Together to help us further develop working relationships between HRCH and Kingston Hospital. We’ve also continued to strengthen relationships with teams at Your Healthcare, working jointly on programmes where it benefits patients and staff to do so.

Since then, we have brought together our senior leaders into a single executive team that now works across both organisations. You will already have seen new faces on our board charts, which reflects a desire to use our experience and expertise in the most effective way.

Where senior roles have changed, colleagues are doing what they can to get out and meet people in their areas. On our Better Together microsite we have included details about members of the executive team along with their contact emails should you want to meet and have a one to one with any of us.

Equally, if you see any of us out and about, I’d encourage you to speak to us honestly and frankly about any concerns you may have. This is very important to me as we are here to help and support you, as well as to lead the organisations.

The next stage of this work is to understand where it makes sense to join up some of the work we do and combine our resources and expertise. My hope is that this will give us more opportunities – including a broader range of career prospects, enabling people to move between trusts so we can keep more of you working in the NHS across Hounslow, Kingston and Richmond.

We have already made some progress in areas where it makes sense to bring teams together, such as our workforce teams, led by our Chief People Officer, Kelvin Cheatle, which are coming together to build more resilience into smaller functions with the services and to share expertise. Kelvin and his team have now had two away days and are agreeing new ways of working to support overall improvements to the services we are providing.

Leads in other areas, such as the strategy, transformation and PMO team, our AHPs, communications team, IT and finance will be working with their teams to identify any opportunities that exist to join up what we do, if there are advantages for staff and for patients.

When the NHS was first set up it focused on treating single conditions or illnesses and much has changed in the last 74 years. As people live longer, they often do so with one or more ongoing health conditions, meaning they receive care and support from a variety of places including hospitals, GPs, and social care. Navigating these different services can be confusing and means receiving care can be more stressful than it needs to be.

The work we are doing now will help lay the groundwork for the kind of joined up health and care services that people rightly expect to receive – services which are fair for all and provide value for money.

We are certainly not alone in this respect, as moves to join up care within integrated care systems are taking place across London and the rest of England. I know that change can feel unsettling, but by acting now we are securing the future of both trusts and ensuring we remain relevant, sustainable and move in line with the national direction for healthcare organisations.

As we now begin to move on from the pandemic, which has dominated our lives for two years and placed a significant strain on our staff, we have launched an engagement exercise, which means that I and other members of the executive team will be joining your meetings during the rest of June and July to ask for your views about how we can support you to do your work.

I have joined some of your meetings already, and it’s great that you have been so open with me, and we are having some insightful and helpful conversations. I really look forward to talking to more of you in the weeks ahead. It might sound like a cliché, but you really are our most important asset and we can only provide outstanding care if we first look after our staff.

We are still at the beginning of this journey together so thank you all for your support to date. I’d also like to re-state my absolute commitment to our services in Hounslow, which I have been extremely impressed by and from which we have much to learn. The diversity and breadth of our services across all three boroughs is a genuine strength and will help us to confidently navigate the tides of change within the NHS.

Developing our objectives together

As we continue to work in a more integrated way across HRCH, Kingston Hospital and Your Healthcare, we have come up with a set of shared objectives for the year ahead, to guide our work and to ensure we are continuing to put the patient first in everything we do.

These objectives have been developed at board level and we would now like to invite staff to let us know if these objectives are in line with where our focus should be.

You can read the objectives and share your views in our short online form: https://form.jotform.com/221633972696366

All staff are also invited to attend one of our virtual engagement sessions, taking place next month:

During each session, members of our executive team will talk through the planned objectives and there will be an opportunity for you to share your views.

The sessions will be recorded for anyone who is unable to attend, and subject to demand, additional engagement sessions may be arranged.

Your feedback is really important to us, so thank you for getting involved.

Joint volunteering initiative

HRCH and Kingston Hospital have a joint support team for volunteering initiatives. Currently, they are working with the Richmond Response and Rehabilitation Team.

Volunteers are joining RRRT to help people in the community while they wait for occupational therapy and physiotherapy appointments. Patients take part in a falls prevention community exercise programme in their homes, which reduces their risk of falls, loneliness and deconditioning.

We will also be working closely with a community partner, Nightingale, to meet patients’ needs in future.

PCPC relaunches as GP support service

Our Primary Care Patient Coordination Service (PCPC) in Hounslow has changed its name to GP Support Service. The service has taken on new team members and functions to support Hounslow GP practices.

Thy ensure patients get all the care they need for their long-term conditions, as well as screening and vaccinations, diabetes reviews, NHS Health Checks, cervical screening, and flu jabs.

The extra 20 care coordinators will now facilitate additional support, such as online consultations and care coordination for patients with the most complex needs. Each PCN has its own dedicated lead coordinator, who works closely with primary care network clinical directors.

If you have any questions about the GP Support Service, please contact Alex Russell for more information: [email protected] 

Beyond the pandemic

As we move away from command and control ways of working that were in place during COVID, we have launched a programme to support staff as we move beyond the pandemic.

We will be focusing on:

  • supporting our staff to stay healthy and well
  • new ways of working and having the correct resources to do the work
  • enabling leaders to lead
  • reconnecting the organisation/s

We recognise that current pressures caused by the increasing cost of living, particularly on staff in the lowest pay bands, are also taking their toll. So we are working with NHS partners to provide some respite in the short term and beyond.

As always, I’m genuinely very interested in your thoughts and ideas as we move forward together in this partnership, so please do speak to me if you see me out and about or drop me a line.

Thank you,


Jo Farrar
Chief Executive