The Challenge

Nationally, NHS and local authority social care services are facing significant challenges, both financially and in terms of meeting the needs of a changing population. Tower Hamlets Together aims to respond to these challenges.

Whilst we should celebrate the fact that people are living longer, it also means that more people are living with one or multiple long-term health conditions which require more support and care from health and social care services.

In addition, locally here in Tower Hamlets, our communities face some unique health challenges, with significant levels of poverty and high premature death rates amongst adults from circulatory disease, cancer and respiratory disease. Our population is also growing fast, which will lead to even greater challenges if we fail to act now.

  • Resource pressures also mean that we need to find more efficient ways of providing health and social services.
    That is why Tower Hamlets Together is exploring new and innovative ways to provide care and why partnership sits at the heart of how we work – recognising that no single organisation can do all that needs to be done in isolation.

  • Our population stands at around 280,000 people, attracting residents from all over the UK and wider international communities.
    The Tower Hamlets population is mobile, relatively young and is expected to increase by around 20% over the next six years.

  • A rapid increase in residents aged 35-64 will bring new challenges for local health and social care services.
    These are the ages in which long-term conditions first develop (and at an earlier age in Tower Hamlets’ population than most other places) which in turn will increase demand for health and care services.

Below are some of the main headline challenges we face...

Maternity and Early Years

We want to ensure every child in Tower Hamlets has the best possible start in life, which can then continue for the remainder of their lives. We will work to ease the effects of deprivation, early illnesses and support parents of young children.

Maternity and Early Years
  1. Children in poverty

    39% of children in Tower Hamlets live in poverty – the highest rate of poverty in the UK

  2. Low birth weight

    9% of the 4,500 babies born each year have a low birth weight

  3. Pregnancies with diabetes

    Around 10% of pregnancies are complicated by diabetes

  4. Mental health

    20% of mothers in Tower Hamlets are estimated to have a common mental health disorder

Children and Young People

By developing stronger links between health, childcare, education, social care, voluntary and community organisations, Tower Hamlets Together aims to improve health and care services for children, young people and their families that are responsive to their needs and pressing concerns.

Children and Young People
  1. Obesity

    12% of 4 to 5 year olds and 25% of 10 to 11 year olds in Tower Hamlets are obese

  2. Tooth decay

    High rates of tooth decay amongst children aged 5 years, with the need for tooth extraction being the largest single cause of hospital admissions for children

  3. Mental illness

    Approximately 10% of children are estimated to have a mental illness

  4. High rates of sexually transmitted infections

    Tower Hamlets has high rates of sexually transmitted infections, particularly among people under the age of 24


A rapid increase in residents aged 35-64 will bring new challenges for local health and social care services in Tower Hamlets. With people living longer, and with one or multiple long-term health conditions, we are exploring ways to provide support for adults throughout the Borough.

Maternity and Early Years
  1. Premature death rate

    Tower Hamlets has the second highest premature death rate from circulatory disease, cancer and respiratory disease of all the London boroughs

  2. Life expectancy

    Men in Tower Hamlets have the lowest healthy life expectancy in the country, at 53.6 years compared with 63.3 years nationally

  3. Years of good health

    Women in Tower Hamlets are expected to have 57.1 years of good health, compared with the national average of 63.9 years

  4. Diabetes

    There are high rates of diabetes, particularly amongst the Bangladeshi community

  5. Serious mental health disorders

    Tower Hamlets has the fourth highest incidence of serious mental illness in London and 10% of people registered with a GP are observed as suffering depression

  6. Cancer

    Although improving, one-year survival from cancer is in the lowest 10% in the country and is particularly poor for breast, colorectal and prostate cancer

The Solutions

The legacy of the Tower Hamlets Together Vanguard and greater cross-system working has given us the opportunity to think about how we can better organise ourselves and the heath and social services around the population that we serve. In order to do this and avoid duplication, we have developed three workstreams to bring stakeholders together from across the THT partners around the following population groups:

These workstreams are in very early development, but the intention is that our population will fit into one of these groupings, ensuring that services and provisions supported by Tower Hamlets Together better tailored to the needs of the group.

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If you have any feedback regarding our services, or suggestions of ideas and initiatives that may improve the healthcare and wellbeing of people in Tower Hamlets, please get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.