How we’re working together to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people

5 April 2017

Anna Riddell, Consultant Paediatrician for Barts Health NHS Trust and clinical lead for the Tower Hamlets Together Children’s Programme, explains how working together will improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people living in Tower Hamlets.

Around 12 months ago, a group of enthusiastic people involved in delivering services to children and young people in Tower Hamlets sat down together to think about how we could work in different ways with each other to do this better. A year down the line, a new way to provide care to children and young people in the Borough is about to launch.

In this time, I have met with, planned, re-thought and engaged with many people in order to improve the health and wellbeing for our children across the community. These have included health visitors, doctors, school nurses, dentists, voluntary sector workers and counsellors all of whom have given up their time freely to contribute. There have been many innovative ideas and projects, such as the Bridge project coordinating care for children with the most complex needs in the Borough; DIY self care empowering families to address their child’s health needs at home with the support of peers; children’s centre hubs reinvigorating our valuable community spaces to bring families, educators and healthcare staff together, to name just a few.

We have collaborated closely with Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group and our partners in the Local Authority, Mental Health, GPs, Voluntary groups and families. This has been a fun, challenging and rewarding journey.

Over the next 12 months the early years programme for 0-5s will aim to make improvements in children’s nutrition, dental health, emotional wellbeing and management of simple illnesses – all based around children’s centres.

The specialist children’s services based at Wellington Way will relocate to a new Resource Centre at Mile End Hospital allowing staff to work more closely together to support children with autism and developmental difficulties and those who are vulnerable.

We will be able to report on a piece of work looking at the full range of health and social needs of children across the Borough. This will allow us to address all needs and manage our resources efficiently.

Above all, the programme is about building relationships across different organisations which share a common purpose, overcoming barriers to work better together. The best thing is, we are really starting to make it happen.