On Thursday 4 April, I chaired my first meeting with Board members and other representatives across the partnership. It was great to see so many familiar faces from my time as a Councillor and Cabinet Member. After nearly a year away from frontline Tower Hamlets politics, I'm delighted to be back in such an important role and to play a part in tackling health inequalities and driving improvements in how our health and care services work for local people.

 

Our meeting was a chance to take stock of the many achievements in Tower Hamlets so far, reflect on the strong foundations we have to build on and then drill down into three main questions; what's our ambition; what needs to change; how do we get there?

 

To set the scene, we heard about the wider context of NHS developments across North East London and the expectations for local integrated care systems set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. We then considered THT's draft vision and priorities, which has been in development since last summer. The Board agreed the overall content but wanted to inject some more passion and ambition into our mission. Watch this space as it will be coming out soon!

 

The rest of the session was spent interrogating some key priorities to help us achieve the step change we need across the partnership, commissioning and service delivery. We considered what is currently working well at Board level and what is holding us back, how we reshape our care model so the person is genuinely at the centre, and what infrastructure and resource we need to drive change forward at pace.

 

I've come away with a strong sense of consensus around THT's ambition and purpose - we all want to transform health and care in Tower Hamlets, strengthening quality and value for money while making services work better for local people and tackling the deeply troubling health inequalities that still exist. But there are different perspectives on how we get there and some important discussions to have about how we pool money, staff, risk and accountability, keeping the impact on people's lives at the heart of all our decisions. We also know we need to work harder to make THT become "how we do business" locally, engaging meaningfully with and harnessing the expertise and passion of our staff. We also want to push ourselves to truly put citizens at the fore, from Board level through to local Health and Wellbeing Committees and the many diverse local people who too often can still battle with a complex system.

 


I've also come away with a huge to do list! There's lots to do but no shortage of commitment to crack on with it from everyone I've met in THT so far. My top three priorities are communicating our vision and mission, cracking our approach to co-production with local people and making sure we have the right infrastructure and resource in the right places to unlock barriers to change. I'll be getting out to other THT groups, workstreams and committees in the coming months, so I look forward to hearing your views and priorities very soon too.