Publish date: 15 March 2024

UCLH and Whittington Health have a long history of working together to benefit patients, staff and our communities across Camden, Haringey, Islington and beyond. This includes services such as the virtual ward, orthopaedic surgery and paediatric dentistry. 

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UCLH@Home – a nurse-led virtual ward run jointly with Whittington Health 

Building on our successes, the two organisations believe that there is a case for closer collaboration, where it makes sense clinically and operationally, and while remaining two separate organisations.   

Later this month, both boards will discuss a shared vision and mission which will guide this work moving forward: 

We will use our collective strengths in acute care, community services, education and research to improve access, enhance quality, lower costs, and provide a compelling offer to our staff to connect with our local communities. 

The collaboration aims to improve the quality, safety and experience for local people served by Whittington Health and UCLH by improving services across the two trusts and promoting population health.  It also aims to make both organisations, and the health system as a whole, more efficient by working together on the delivery of clinical services, changing pathways, rationalising support services where mutually agreed and providing mutual aid.  

This work will be overseen by a joint committee reporting to both trusts’ boards of directors and chaired by our joint Chair – Baroness Julia Neuberger. This will help to speed up decision making whilst it is hoped that the appointment of a programme director will inject additional pace into existing areas of collaboration and help to develop new ones.  

Baroness Julia Neuberger said:

“As chair of both UCLH and Whittington Health, I firmly believe that this closer collaboration will help to make our patients and communities healthier. Whittington Health and UCLH are, and will remain, two separate organisations, but working more closely together will bring benefits for patients, staff and the wider health system in North Central London.” 

One area where it makes operational sense to work more closely together is the appointment of a shared chief people officer who will oversee the human resources directorates at both UCLH and Whittington Health. Liz O’Hara, who is the current UCLH workforce director, will take on this role at the end of March 2024. Liz will replace Norma French who is retiring from her role as Whittington Health’s director of workforce which she has held since 2015.  

Clare Dollery, Whittington Health acting deputy chief executive and executive medical director, said:

“This is an exciting time for both UCLH and Whittington Health as we build on the benefits of previous joint working to improve healthcare services for people across Camden, Haringey, Islington and beyond. 

"I am delighted that Liz O’Hara will be joining Whittington Health as joint workforce director with UCLH, bringing a wealth of experience in NHS human resources.” 

David Probert, UCLH chief executive, said:

“Whittington Health and UCLH are very different organisations, but both have their own unique strengths and specialties. By bringing together the best of what both organisations do well, we will deliver even higher quality, safer and more timely and efficient care for our local communities.”