Feature Regeneration

A herculean task for the Olympics borough

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h2347 (Published 01 May 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2347
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz, news editor, The BMJ, London, UK
  1. zkmietowicz{at}bmj.com

GPs in Newham are confronting their patients’ poor health outcomes with a £2m research agenda. Zosia Kmietowicz finds out how

If you were choosing somewhere to launch a programme of work that embeds quality improvement into general practice it probably wouldn’t be Newham. Simply keeping pace with the health demands of the population of this diverse and deprived east London borough may seem challenge enough. But that is exactly what Newham general practitioners are doing. Zuhair Zarifa, a local GP and chair of Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), told The BMJ, “Just treating people as they become ill was not an option. We had to work on a preventive agenda to stop people getting ill.”

Zarifa was showcasing the group’s plans for improving the health of the local population ahead of the annual meeting of the International Quality and Safety in Healthcare Forum in London in April. With the help of UCL (University College London) Partners—set up to speed up the translation of academic health science into population benefits—the CCG is launching six streams of research that aim to drive better health for Newham’s residents.

Last summer the CCG heard from researchers and stakeholders about how they could “help people living and working in Newham” and is putting £2m (€2.8m; $3m) into the winning projects over the next two to three years. The money is coming from a surplus in its 2013-14 budget.

Judith Stephenson, Margaret Pyke professor of sexual and reproductive health and programme director for maternal health at UCL Partners, is running the research stream investigating why 10% of babies born in Newham have a low birth weight compared with the English average of 7.3%. She said that being funded by the CCG differentiates her work in Newham from other projects.

“It makes me feel more accountable. …

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