Last week, our Community Led Prevention team welcomed over 150 NHS leaders and staff to our personalised care in secondary care webinar, supporting our ambition that every Acute Hospital Trust in London has access to personalised care roles by March 2025.
Delegates heard how social prescribing link workers, care coordinators and health and wellbeing coaches embedded in specialist teams are helping to truly integrate and provide more personalised care for patients and bridge the gap between primary and secondary care.
Dr Melissa Heightman, from University College London Hospital Trust, who runs a post Covid clinic for people living with Long Covid shared how social prescribing provided crucial benefits to the wider support offer for her patients. The service has led to increased wellbeing by connecting patients to support in the community, while also relieving pressure on the NHS and reducing avoidable admissions.
Dr Tara Mastracci, a vascular surgeon from St Bartholomew’s Hospital in North East London also shared some early findings from their pilot to introduce personalised care roles into Cardiology pathways in Barts NHS Trust. Asking the question “do you have difficulties making ends meet at the end of the month?” is having an impact on patients’ decision making on whether they want surgery and their ongoing care. Dr Mastracci said that being able to refer to a social prescriber who is embedded in the department, is helping patients to manage wider social issues that are impacting their condition as well as their overall health and wellbeing.
“The risk of being socially deprived is almost equivalent to risk of high alcohol or hypertension in terms of impact of cardiovascular mortality. So it’s a no brainer that we should deal with social welfare and deprivation in regular and routine care in our heart clinic.”
NHS London’s Chief Nurse and lead for Personalised Care, Jane Clegg, also lent her support for our London-wide ambition and set out steps for what London needs to make this happen.
“It’s everyone’s business to combat health inequalities, and we can do this more effectively if we all work together. Having a personalised care lead in all Acute, Community, Mental Health and Specialist Trusts to act as a point of contact will help address the non-clinical, wider determinants of health that create barriers to accessing secondary care services, and tailor them so patients access the right care, at the right time and in the right place.”
Dr Jagan John, Associate Medical Director for Barking Havering and Redbridge university hospital NHS trust said, “This was a really exciting webinar reflecting the bold work in London, where secondary care are looking at personalisation at the point of contact to improve outcomes for the patients and residents. This approach very much mirrors a population health approach to personalisation to deal with health inequalities and to develop a neighbourhood approach to health and social care so that we can coproduce solutions with our residents and providers to improve resident’s lives and care.”
We were also joined by Chris Streather, Regional Medical Director at NHS London on the expert panel. Chris emphasised how we can all act as ambassadors to champion personalised care across our networks and highlighted the opportunity to involve communities and VCSFE to help build capacity within the community.