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Launch of new digital programme is the way forward for Healthy London Partnership

Shaun Danielli, Progamme Director at HLP gives us insight on the Healthy London Partnerships plans to make London the world’s healthiest global city in digital times.

How did you come up with the idea of the Healthy London Partnership (HLP)?

The HLP was born out of two key reviews:
 1) NHS Five Year Forward View (FYFV); a national report published by Simon Stevens (alongside Monitor, Public Health England, Care Quality Commission and Trust Development Authority).The FYFV recognises that care needs to meet the needs of individual patients and communities, but importantly highlights that our population is too diverse for a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

2) Better Health for London;  published by the London Health Commission – an independent inquiry established by the Mayor of London and led by Lord Darzi examined how London’s health and healthcare could be improved for the benefit of its residents. The London Health Commission responded to the FYFV by looking at how Londoners could enjoy better health and better care. It considered the very unique challenges specific to London  such as child poverty and the obesity rate; mental illness and homelessness. The challenges identified are more prominent in London than anywhere else in the country and are putting unprecedented pressure on the health care system in London. 

The HLP was born in March 2015 when London’s NHS (32 Clinical Commissioning Groups  (CCGs) and London Region of NHS England) agreed to come together using the recommendations set out in Better Health for London as a blueprint to meet the challenges set out in the Five Year Forward View.

What the key aspects of the HLP?

A key strength of HLP is its partnership approach, including Public Health England, NHS England, London’s 32 CCGs, London Councils and the Greater London Assembly, as well as members of the public and patient groups. We have come together to address the unique health challenges London faces and deliver this transformation.

HLP is just one part of the transformation work across London. Across the capital, health and care staff and Londoners are making tremendous improvements to patient services. This happens at every level of the health care system: local communities; boroughs; groups of boroughs and London-wide.  By working together, we are able to make sustainable progress to raise the quality and safety of care. We are also changing how care is commissioned, how estate is used and transforming our workforce.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time and what are the key time frames for this project?

Our aspiration is based on the belief that a truly great global city is a healthy city. The aim is to take London from seventh in the global healthy city rankings, to the number one spot. We want to make London a place that helps its residents to make healthier choices, improves the health of its most vulnerable, provides consistently excellent care for people when they need it most and enables its health service to prosper and flourish to the benefit of all its citizens.

Over the next five years, we will be working closely with our partners across health and social care to deliver a world class health and care system that empowers individuals to do more for themselves.

Is this something that could branch out to other cities across the country given time?

The UK has one of the best healthcare systems in the world but it’s clear we need to continue to make improvements to ensure the best outcomes for our patients and our community in order to keep people healthy.

The NHS Five Year Forward View sets out a new shared vision for the future of the NHS based around greater integration. Other cities around the country are also looking at ways to better serve their communities. Services are being organised around the needs of populations and patients rather than professional boundaries. GPs and specialist care; physical and mental health care; and health and social care are working together to provide care. We are also transforming clinical treatment and promoting prevention.

Are other major cities across the globe following suit?

I doubt there is a city in the world that doesn’t aspire to improve the health and wellbeing of their populations.  London has a good history of making improvements, but so do others, for example New York, so it’s a case of what we can learn from each other.

What do you see as the main challenges to the programme?

The main challenges for a project of this type can be the sheer ambitious nature and the managing of aspirations. 

However, we have set ourselves some very clear objectives of what we want to achieve over the next five years and we have worked closely with members of the public and partners to identify what will make a real difference to the lives of Londoners.

What will you be demonstrating at UK e-Health Week and why do you see the event as a useful platform to leverage?

Currently, there are thousands of health and care organisations working on delivering information sharing at a local level, but what is missing is the infrastructure to connect these projects across London. 

Our Digital Programme will be demonstrating the design for a London-wide information exchange. It will show for example how using interoperability standards, personal accounts and tools for data controllers will create the conditions for a ‘trusted information exchange’ that can be scaled for use by clinicians and patients across London. 

This digital transformation will allow real-time collaboration in support of urgent and emergency care as well as integrated care delivery. In addition, the use of a personal information exchange account will provide a platform for patients to actively participate in their care.

The architecture has been developed with active support from the 32 CCGs, 28 Trusts, 3 Academic Health Science Networks and representatives from the 32 local authorities. Digital collaboration at this scale is rare and elements of the architecture focusing on empowering patients and data controllers are entirely new.

 The 13 programmes are our priority areas this year. Focusing on the digital programme, it has an essential role to play for enabling transformation in a number of our programmes including: urgent and emergency care; primary care; prevention; specialised care; mental health; children and young people.

From the digital programme’s perspective, at the top of the list is addressing the challenge of connecting and empowering patients, and information sharing between healthcare providers.  We believe we are close to achieving this and we are looking forward to receiving feedback from stakeholders on the emerging design, so that we can start implementation.