News and events

News and events

Working together with NELFT – better for us and our patients


Statement from Joe Fielder Chair in Common, Chris Bown Interim CEO BHRUT and Oliver Shanley Interim CEO NELFT

We are delighted to announce the latest, exciting stage in the development of our two organisations. Our Boards have agreed we will work more closely together and form what is known in the NHS as a Group Model. Our first, vital task will be to recruit a joint Chief Executive who will lead BHRUT and NELFT.

Breaking down barriers between health organisations is a priority for the NHS and is a crucial element of the NHS Long Term Plan. Our joint decision to create a Group Model will benefit patients and staff as we develop more integrated services across mental health, community and acute provision that will improve the quality of the care we provide. Each organisation will be able to learn from the best practice being pursued by the other. Our staff will be able to work more easily across organisational boundaries and the removal of barriers will be better for our patients. One example of where this is already happening is the work we are doing with our commissioners to establish one rehabilitation ward for stroke patients and one community based rehabilitation team.

This will not be a merger. Our two sovereign Boards will continue to exist. They will delegate powers to what is known as a committees in common to share governance across both organisations. Executive directors and non-executive directors will sit on these committees and they will serve in the best interests of both BHRUT and NELFT. Acute services and community and mental health services will continue to be operationally managed separately. 

This decision was reached after Joe Fielder commissioned Sir David Dalton to provide his expertise and both Boards considered Sir David’s recommendations. He is an expert in this field having created and led the Northern Care Alliance Group in Greater Manchester. We are grateful for the help and advice he has given us.

Sir David made a further recommendation for the way care in the future could be provided in Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge (BHR). It is a recommendation that has only been discussed by the two Boards and has not yet been considered in detail by any of the other relevant organisations. Under this draft proposal we would work with primary and social care in a fully integrated way to look after the needs of residents in each borough. Our shared vision which is supported by Sir David – and it is only one of the possible ways forward – is to create a single leadership team in each borough (supported by a joint Chief Executive and the new committee of Executive Directors and Non-Executive Directors) who would be responsible for acute services, community services, mental health, social services, primary care and neighbourhood provision. 

This proposal is not something that BHRUT and NELFT can, or would want to, introduce on our own. It is something that senior leaders across BHR would have to agree to collectively and the future of our health and social care provision may end up being different to what Sir David has recommended. One of the first tasks of our new joint Chief Executive will be to explore with all our partners, including our GPs, councillors and commissioners, whether this is a direction of travel all those responsible for services in our three boroughs would like to pursue. You can read the report here.

The review and discussions have included the impacts of a potential BHR Group Model on the wider NELFT trust across Waltham Forest, Barnet, Essex, Medway and Kent. It is the intention of the NELFT Board to continue to deliver the services we provide outside of the BHR health economy.  The NELFT Board is clear that we will ensure we can deliver across all areas and for all the patients we serve as part of the key conversations in all our health economies about how the Long Term Plan will be delivered.

This is the beginning of a very new journey for BHRUT and NELFT. None of it will happen overnight and we promise to keep you informed and updated at every stage. 

Best wishes. 


Joe Fielder           Chris Bown                         Oliver Shanley

Chair                    Interim CEO BHRUT          Interim CEO NELFT

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