A think tank has called on health and care organisations across London to continue working together closely after the pandemic in order to tackle health inequalities across the capital.
A new study by The King’s Fund has found that closer collaboration in the face of COVID-19 has led to ‘massive leaps’ in remote access to health care and faster problem solving across organisations.
The think tank’s new report, Integrated Care Systems in London: challenges and opportunities ahead, argues that ‘stark’ health inequalities existed in the capital prior to the pandemic and so the lessons in collaboration that have been learnt over the last year should be continued post-COVID.
Integrated Care Systems in London recommends that locally led action on health inequalities should be co-ordinated by London borough-based partnerships going forward.
It also highlights the role that Integrated Care Systems will play in linking the work of the boroughs with London-wide initiatives and public health expertise, and recommends that partners revisit which areas will benefit most from a coordinated response across the capital and update them in light of the impact of the pandemic.
Richard Murray, chief executive of The King’s Fund and one of the report’s authors, commented: ‘One of the few silver linings from the pandemic was the big leap forward in joint working to deliver health and care across London. This allowed London’s health and care services to respond to the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19.
‘However, COVID-19 also laid bare the deep health inequalities that blight the lives of many Londoners. London’s health and care leaders now need to use this momentum and sense of common purpose as a catalyst for tackling inequalities and addressing London’s health challenges.’
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘It has been an extremely challenging year for our NHS and social care services as staff have gone above and beyond to help and care for Londoners.
‘COVID-19 has devastated our city, but this report highlights how health and care organisations have worked together in the face of such difficult circumstances, and have importantly united to tackle health inequalities.
‘The virus has had a disproportionate impact and widened the already unacceptable health inequalities in our capital, and I will continue to champion, challenge and collaborate with the NHS to ensure a fair and healthy recovery for all Londoners.’