More than 1,300 people in Barking have received help and support to lead happier and healthier lives, thanks to an initiative led by local GPs and their staff.
Working closely with the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT), NHS North East London, developer Barking Riverside and community group Thames Life, Aurora Medcare GP practice is running series of drop-in outreach clinics to support the drive by local partners to tackle health inequalities. The first four clinics proved hugely successful, with GPs, paramedics, nurses, healthcare assistants, pharmacists, social prescribers, managers and community leaders all offering help and advice, while signposting residents to local organisations for extra support.
People are now being invited to the latest drop-in clinic at Thames Community Hub in Bastable Avenue, Barking, from 12pm to 6pm on Friday 28 July, which is free and open to all. Further monthly events are planned as follows:
- Friday 11 August (12pm-6pm) – Thames Community Hub, Bastable Avenue
- Friday 8 September (12pm-6pm) – Rivergate Centre, Minter Road, Barking
- Friday 13 October (12pm-6pm) – Thames Community Hub, Bastable Avenue
The clinics were launched by GPs following discussions with local partners, including faith and community groups, about the best way to meet growing demand from patients with a range of issues – many of them non-medical or requiring additional support.
At the first four events, partners offered help and advice on issues including foodbanks, mental health support, children’s activities, debt and finances, cookery classes, walking groups and bereavement support. People with medical concerns were directed to Thames View Medical Practice, which is one of two local surgeries run by Aurora Medcare.
Dr Jagan John, a GP at Aurora Medcare and a board member at NHS North East London, said: “We’ve now held four drop-in clinics and it has been fantastic working with our local community and partners to provide help and advice to our residents.
“A critical part of work to address health inequalities in Barking and Dagenham involves enabling our residents to be self-empowered and taking action to prevent illness, so these clinics have supported our efforts in helping them lead healthier, happier lives.
“There are many different factors that affect a person’s health and wellbeing so we’ve had the opportunity to encourage people to liaise with local services and community groups, where this might help them manage their individual needs. This in turn allows me and my fellow GPs to focus on those patients who require our help with medical issues.
“The events have taken a great deal of planning and all of our practice staff have given up their time voluntarily, either on their day off or as overtime, which shows how committed our team members are and their willingness to give back to the local community.”
Aurora Medcare says the lessons learned from running the drop-in clinics, and the feedback received, is helping it shape the way it supports its patients and to better understand their needs, as well as boosting team spirit and relations with local partners. The clinics are being expanded as more local stakeholder groups get involved.