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Co-creating a new model of primary care commissioning

With newly acquired responsibility for primary care, NHS Tower Hamlets, was looking for novel ways to improve local primary care. To think beyond system norms, the CCG asked Partners in Creation to help them think differently. Our response was to connect them directly with patients, community groups, residents, clinicians and voluntary groups – including people who had not actively engaged with the health service before. 


The challenge

There are significant pressures on

primary care in Tower Hamlets, which

is leading to poor delivery of services

to residents and increasing pressure

on people working within primary care,

including GPs. Improvements to the

local system need to come about

without additional funding or resources.


The results

The project inspired the chair of the

board and commissioners to think

differently about the challenge and

also about the future, giving them a different and detailed roadmap for change. By working directly alongside residents and other stakeholders, the client gained a much deeper level of understanding of the needs of local people and what changes are needed and acceptable.  


As a result of the project

Health and Wellbeing networks are being co-designed with the GP networks. The evidence from the project is being used extensively in the CCG’s transformation plans. 


Insights from the project

People who are generally well – and who don’t have a long-term condition or other ongoing health or social care issues - could be offered a lighter touch primary care service. They are willing to make a trade-off between the traditional GP offer, in return for a system that is faster and more responsive when they first need to get medical attention.


Local people have well-formed and constructive ideas of the changes that could help reshape primary care. They are active collaborators in waiting - a resource which public sector organisations could tap into to help further design a new service offer. 


The method

  • Review of existing literature and data, with focus groups to further identify attitudes, beliefs and behaviours to primary care.

  • Two Action Based Co-creation workshops, involving circa 60 people (recruited to provide a representative sample of the borough).

  • Debrief workshop and plans for smaller co-design workshops to involve stakeholders across the borough. 



“We reached a level of insight I don’t think we would have got to with other methods. It was extremely valuable and the process itself was very well received.” 

Ellie Hobart, Deputy Director of Corporate Affairs, NHS Tower Hamlets CCG

Together with a representative sample of local residents, clinicians, voluntary and community groups, the client discovered deeply held needs and ideas for new products and services - essentially a radical new take on primary care provision.

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