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Two weeks ago, a large delegation of health chiefs from north-west London went on a £120,000 fact-finding mission to the US to learn more about how it delivers care in the community rather than in hospitals.

The trip – funded from a Department of Health “innovations” fund and organised by McKinsey – attracted considerable controversy, prompting the chief executive of Imperial College NHS trust, Dr Tracey Batten, to withdraw, and for Labour MP Andy Slaughter to describe it as a “junket”.

Campaigners were angry as the trip came after A&E delays in west London had increased in the wake of the closure of two small casualty units at Cental Middlesex and Hammersmith hospitals, and amid concern about the future of emergency care at Charing Cross and Ealing hospitals.

See here for my story at the time for the Evening Standard: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/health-bosses-in-ae-closures-row-go-on-120000-trip-paid-for-by-taxpayer-to-learn-how-to-cut-hospital-admissions-9890075.html

I’ve since obtained a list of those who took part in the trip, from the PR agency working for the Shaping A Healthier Future team. It said the 22 attendees were: “Two of our patient partners, two Directors of Social Services, two psychiatrists, seven GPs, two leaders from community health care providers, two clinicians involved in medical and nursing education and five members of the programme team.”

See here for a full list:


Patient representative
  Trish Longdon Lay Partner Hammersmith & Fulham CCG
  Michael Morton Lay Partner Central London CCG
Local Authorities – Directors of Adult Social Services
  Bernie Flaherty Divisional Director, Adult Social Care/ Co-Chair Embedding Partnerships Harrow Local Authority
  Phil Porter Strategic Director of Adult Social Services Brent Local Authority
Senior GPs
Dr Annabel Crowe CCG Mental health lead Hounslow CCG
Dr Ian Goodman CCG Chair Hillingdon CCG
Dr Ethie Kong CCG Chair Brent CCG
Dr Ruth O’Hare CCG Chair Central London CCG
Dr Mohini Parmar CCG Chair Ealing CCG
Dr Tim Spicer CCG Chair Hammersmith & Fulham CCG
Dr Richard Hooker CCG IT Lead West London CCG
Dr Christopher Hilton Consultant Psychiatrist West London Mental Health Trust
Dr Alex Lewis Medical Director Central North West London Foundation Trust
Community Trusts
  James Reilly Chief Executive Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust
  Frank Sims Chief Executive Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust
Education partners
Dr Alison Chambers Pro Vice Chancellor & Executive Dean Society & Health Buckinghamshire New University
Dr Jeremy Levy Director of Multi-Professional Education and Quality Health Education North West London
Programme team
  Clare Parker Chief Financial Officer & Deputy Chief Officer CWHHE CCGs
  Susan Sinclair Director of Strategy West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust
  David Stacey Director of Business Strategy West London Mental Health Trust
  Caroline Allnutt Programme Team Strategy & Transformation
  Matthew Quinn Programme Team Strategy & Transformation


The Shaping A Healthier Future spokeswoman told me: “The programme have listened to patient frustrations about difficulties in finding their way through the system and repeating their story multiple times.  We want to improve that and provide the best possible care for the residents of NW London so the purpose of the visit is for clinicians in NWL to learn from others and be better informed to lead the improvements to care for our 2 million residents across North West London.    

“North West London was awarded Integrated Pioneer status last year and each national Pioneer site was given £110,000 to advance integration in their area. North West London already has a very ambitious programme to improve integrated care which has been cited nationally and internationally. We wanted to learn how we can improve care further by visiting innovative integrated care systems and organisations and meeting one of the requirements of the funding which was to learn about international examples of integration.

“It was therefore decided that representatives of our partner organisations, including patient representatives, would go on a study tour of America funded by the award I referred to above.  The team will be visiting 9 sites over 5 days and each leader attending will be responsible for studying a different features and writing up what they learn to share within their organisations and across North West London to progress our own improvements in joining up health and social care.

“The US was chosen as there are a number of organisations using innovative new care models and performance systems especially in relation to elderly care which is a key focus of the NW London early adopters.  I appreciate your point about the US having a private healthcare system but the organisations we are visiting have been specifically chosen because they are providing publicly funded care for elderly people and people who cannot pay for care themselves through the Medicare and Medicaid programmes, where reimbursement levels are broadly similar to those in the NHS. This includes organisations providing care in complex urban areas with high poverty rates like the Bronx and Baltimore.”