In the early 2000s primary care in Tower Hamlets struggled to deliver important community based outcome measures, for example vaccinations and diabetes care. In 2009 Tower Hamlets PCT embarked on a major investment programme in primary care which would see it move from one of the worst performing services in London to one of the best.
Key to this transformation was the creation of eight networks comprising four or five neighbouring practices. The 8 networks were provided with funding to give each a small management team, in return for which the practices agreed to work to a shared "network incentive scheme", the success of which was dependent upon all practices within their network delivering agreed outcomes.
This revolutionised primary care in the borough, with practices learning to work with their neighbours, providing peer review and support.
Tower Hamlets GP Care Group was formed in late 2013 to enable practices to participate at scale in the local Clinical Commissioning Group's integrated care programme. This brought local service providers around a table to agree ways to join up services more effectively from the integrated care portfolio.
Through the Care Group, practices in Tower Hamlets could speak with one voice to the larger partners, Barts Health, East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) and London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
In future, representing general practice “at scale” in Tower Hamlets will enable practices and networks to work collectively on more innovative ventures.
The Care Group was incorporated as a community interest company limited by shares in September 2014, with each of the 37 practices in Tower Hamlets owning one share.
GPCG took responsibility for delivering CEPN, Open Doors and GP Extended Access hubs in the first stage of its development.
On 1st April 2016 the Care Group commenced a contract to provide health visiting services to the Borough, taking on 140 staff under TUPE transfer from Bart's Health.
On 19th April 2016, GPCG in alliance with Barts Health and ELFT was declared the preferred bidder to provide community health services to the Borough. This contract commenced on 1 April 2017 following completion of due diligence and mobilisation. The Care Group is the alliance manager for all community services, and will has direct management responsibility for the out of hours service, single point of access, health advocacy and interpreting services, and the patient experience team.
GPCG is responsible for the provision of the School Health & Wellbeing Service from 1 September 2018, providing the opportunity to develop an integrated 0-19 service.
From 1 April 2019, the Care Group took over running the Tower Hamlets Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) service. FNP is a voluntary home visiting programme for first time young mums, aged under 21.
The Care Group is also a member of the Tower Hamlets Together (THT), which includes Tower Hamlets CCG, Bart's Health, ELFT, London Borough of Tower Hamlets and the community and voluntary sector. THT is a Multispecialty Community Provider NHS vanguard and plays a significant role in system leadership in the borough.
Key priorities for GPCG include: