People who live in Waltham Forest are facing some huge health challenges. Over the next three decades, the number of people in our borough is predicted increase from 262,000 to more than 350,000, and the proportion of children and older people - who often use more health and social care services - will grow significantly.
We are in one of the most deprived areas in England (15th out of 326 local authorities), with high rates of homelessness, obesity and child poverty, and like everywhere else in the NHS, we have limited resource and a challenging financial position. Barts Health NHS Trust, our local hospital provider, has recently been placed in special measures and is forecasting a £93m deficit this year.
While these challenges are significant, they are not insurmountable. Over the past few years, since our CCG was formed, we have seen some big steps forward.Since 2013, emergency admissions to Whipps Cross Hospital have dropped by 24% (1,806 episodes) - propelled by our Better Care Together work, one of the most ambitious and advanced integrated care programmes in the country.
Our borough is in the top ten most improved for cancer survival rates up from 65% in 2011 to 66.6% in 2012. This coincides with a significant increase in the number of people waiting less than two weeks for a cancer referral.
People who have mental health issues are getting more support: services are now open out-of-hours, and almost than 1,200 people with anxiety and depression used psychological therapies last year - an increase of 40% from the previous year.
One of our biggest focuses is on improving the quality of care at Whipps Cross Hospital. We work closely with the hospital to monitor how it’s performing and have commissioned programmes of work to help make changes to make it fit for the future.
In April 2015 we became responsible for commissioning GP services. We know that access to GPs is a major issue in Waltham Forest and we have plans in place to improve this.
We are planning to commission more services that help you take care of your own health. We already have a programme to teach people with diabetes how to manage their condition, and we’ll be introducing more services like this in the future.