On 3 October, leaders of Singapore’s National Healthcare Group spent the day with leaders of the South East London Integrated Care System, exploring the challenges and opportunities of developing integrated systems and new models of care.
We started our day in the wood-panelled Counting House of the Old Guy’s Hospital. By lunch, we were on the roof of the 1960s Aylesbury estate in Walworth, learning about a hugely diverse, vibrant but challenged local community. By late afternoon, we were at Pembroke House in Southwark, one of the original ‘settlement houses’ of the late 19th century, once a home to Oxbridge philanthropists, now a vital community centre.
In nine hours, we discussed how to gain traction on prevention, how to support improvement in primary care, how to join up care for people with long term conditions, how to support the frail elderly and compassionate end of life care.
We were struck by the similarities we face in improving care for our populations. London and Singapore may be 9000 miles apart. But so many of our challenges are the same: developing our primary care system to deliver effective preventative care, joining up care for people with long term conditions, and making best use of staff across primary, community and social services and the hospital system.
We agreed that success would depend largely on how rigorously we implement new models of care, for example multi-disciplinary teams in our neighbourhoods. We also agreed on the need for innovation: working with partners and the public to rethink how we support people, alongside incremental improvement in our existing services.