NHS in £28m spending spree to hire more health and care workers in Waltham Forest

Less than one in ten of the population of Waltham Forest account for three quarters of its hospital admissions, due to under-investment in community care.

The NHS estimates the average Waltham Forest GP is responsible for at least 2,500 patients – significantly more than in neighbouring boroughs like Tower Hamlets or Hackney.

In an effort to improve community care and lower hospitals admissions, the local NHS plans to spend £28million hiring more health and care workers.

Over the next five years, it aims to hire 100 extra staff as part of a national drive to “promote wellbeing” and better manage long-term conditions.

Speaking at Waltham Forest’s health scrutiny committee last week, Dr Janakan Crofton said Whipps Cross is seeing “younger and younger” patients needing hospital care.

He added: “Over the last few years, there’s been an increasing cohort of the community being admitted to Whipps Cross, patients are getting younger and younger and these are patients with simple conditions.

“The community has been underinvested in, in comparison to other boroughs, for some years. This is an opportunity to reallocate some of the resources through this programme.”

According to a report before councillors, Waltham Forest receives 26% less funding for community services compared to other boroughs in North East London.

Dr Crofton, a GP at Walthamstow’s Addison Road Practice, added: “It’s about being very honest with patients and saying they often don’t need to see the GP and often there are far more experienced people than the GP.

“Social prescribers are often more well-versed in muscular therapies than I am… This is about the whole wrap-around team rather than just the GP.”

The new staff will be organised in multi-disciplinary teams of nurses, therapists, care and independence coordinators, social workers and reablement workers.

They will provide care closer to home, promote wellbeing, coordinate with non-NHS services and help to manage long-term health conditions.

A spokesperson for North East London CCG, who commission local health services in Waltham Forest, declined to provide further details on how many of each staff discipline will be hired or where they will be based.

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter