Pharmacy, optical and hearing organisations and community leaders in Ealing have joined forces to improve local health and social care in the borough.
MP for Ealing Southall and Health Select Committee member Virendra Sharma and leader of Ealing Council and chair of the Health and Wellbeing board Julian Bell hosted the meeting discussing the 'five year forward view' of how services in the area might be re-shaped to meet the needs of an ageing population, including supporting more people out of hospital.
The meeting, held on February 18, helped to demonstrate how pressures on GPs and hospitals can be reduced by close working and support from the wider primary care network.
Representatives from Pharmacy Voice, the Local Optical Committee Support Unit and the National Community Hearing Association, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Health and Wellbeing board (HWB) were able to share their strategies for improvement in self-care, supporting people living with long-term conditions and living well for longer.
The collaborative approach to designing services was welcomed by all stake-holders and it was agreed everybody would continue to work together and meet again later in 2015.
Mr Sharma said: “The integration of health and social care which spans across both pharmacies' and opticians' work is key to improving outcomes.
"If the agreements which were made at this meeting come to pass we will have significantly improved services for Ealing residents.
"I hope when we meet in six months we can promise even more, and I will be discussing this with all the stake-holders over the coming months.”
Hiten Patel, Pharmacy Voice Board member and owner of Mattock Lane Pharmacy, Ealing, said: “I think we all agree that some great health care happens locally but too often it is not joined up.
"If we can co-ordinate more services, offering the right care in the right place, patients will benefit. For example a minor ailments scheme is launching in Ealing this April which allows pharmacies to deal with common problems such as conjunctivitis and coughs that clog up GP waiting rooms."