New partnership to improve care for Hammersmith and Fulham

Four NHS organisations have set up a joint initiative to develop a radically better way of providing care for the nearly 200,000 people living in Hammersmith and Fulham. 

The Hammersmith and Fulham Integrated Care Programme has been established by: Hammersmith and Fulham GP Federation (including all GP practices in the borough); Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (including Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea, and the Western Eye hospitals); Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (including Chelsea and Westminster and West Middlesex University hospitals); and West London Mental Health NHS Trust. 

Through the programme, and working in partnership with patients and local residents, the partners have three broad goals: 

  • To design a practical ‘accountable care’ approach – collectively looking after the holistic care needs of local people and helping them stay as healthy as possible, from the beginning to the end of life, rather than providing separate aspects of treatment when they are sick.

  • To identify and implement immediate improvements to ‘join-up’ care, primarily through two pilot projects, one focusing on patients who are frequent users of A&E services and a second looking at ways of boosting child health.

  • To build strong foundations for potentially forming or becoming part of a formal accountable care partnership – influencing and responding to emerging health policy across north west London and the rest of the country.

Anna Bokobza, integrated care programme director at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said:

“To meet changing needs, we have to make the shift from care being reactive and crisis-driven to being proactive and health-focused. It’s also essential that, regardless of provider, patients feel their care is joined-up, consistent and tailored to their individual needs. 

“If we collaborate and look at the whole care needs of our patients and local residents, we can make the money we currently spend separately on providing services work harder to help individuals stay as healthy as possible and get faster access to the right care when they need it.” 

Accountable care approaches have attracted interest as one way of overcoming dispersed responsibility for the commissioning and provision of care, and NHS England has encouraged exploration of their use. They are a practical expression of ‘place-based’ working under which NHS organisations and their partners agree to collaborate in order to meet the current and future care needs of the population they serve. The health and care sustainability and transformation plans being developed across England, including one for north west London, take a place-based approach.  

Accountable care approaches are in use in other countries, including the Valencia model in Spain, which provided inspiration for the Hammersmith and Fulham Integrated Care Programme.