Collaborating with Barts Health
We worked closely together with Barts Health group during Covid-19, and in 2021 it was agreed to extend this collaboration to help tackle our waiting lists, improve our urgent and emergency care, and respond to the health inequalities in north-east London (NEL) which were worsened by the pandemic.
After engaging for several months with staff and stakeholders about the challenges and the opportunities of working more closely together – with the crucial test being that the collaboration must deliver better, quicker and more effective access to services for the residents of NEL – a Closer Collaboration document was published in September 2021.
As a result of our collaboration, we have been able to deliver many tangible benefits for patients, such as:
- Investing £44m in a new electronic patient record which uses the same platform as Barts Health, so that all the relevant information – including blood tests, current medication and medical history – will be easily available to those treating patients across the integrated group’s seven hospitals – one patient, one record.
- Joining Barts Health’s Remote Emergency Access Coordination Hub (REACH) which aims to reduce unnecessary hospital visits to A&E by giving paramedics direct access to expert advice from emergency clinicians.
- Combining forces to perform the first joint revision knee surgery (the replacement of some or all prosthetic implants following a total knee replacement) to help 73-year-old Krystyna get her treatment more quickly, reducing her wait from 18 months to three.
- Bringing together our non-emergency patient transport service to help patients who would otherwise struggle to get to and from appointments because of a medical condition or mobility issue.
- Supporting Barts Health to clear their long wait patients under the London Integrated Care Board collaborative initiative and have accepted around 230 long waiting patients.
Our respective boards have since agreed to formalise our collaboration by working as a group of hospitals. This is based on the Barts Health model of localising where possible but centralising where necessary. That in turn means devolving operational responsibility to hospitals while using the group’s scale to leverage efficiencies and ensure equity.
The trusts remain separate statutory bodies accountable to NHS England and regulated by the Care Quality Commission. Over the next 18 months we will move towards having a single group executive team under Shane DeGaris operating as part of a single board across the two organisations chaired by the Rt Hon Jacqui Smith.
We are also working within a wider acute provider collaborative in north east London with Homerton Healthcare.
Alongside our Chair in common, the Right Honourable Jacqui Smith, Mehboob Khan is our Vice Chair, with Adam Peebles taking on the role at Barts Health.
Shane DeGaris is the Group Chief Executive of Barts Health and BHRUT and the accountable officer for both trusts. Matthew Trainer, Chief Executive of BHRUT, is Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer.
Three joint non-executive directors sit on the joint committee of both Boards which oversees the collaboration. Lesley Seary, who was already on the BHRUT Board; and Kathy McLean and Prof Sir Mark Caulfield of Queen Mary University of London, both of whom were already on the Barts Health Board.