The Partnership of East London Cooperatives (PELC) has won a new contract to provide the services for four Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs) across East London, in partnership with North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT).

The contract covering Barking, Havering and Redbridge will provide services to Queen’s Hospital UTC, King George Hospital’s UTC, the walk-in centre at Harold Wood, and Barking Community Hospital.

The contract will span five years, with the potential to extend an additional two years. The partnership will be known as the BHR Integrated Healthcare Alliance and has the aim of increasing the capacity of care pathways within the UTCs, allowing the emergency department to deal with genuine emergencies. 

As well as taking responsibility for new and existing UTCs, PELC is already working with NELFT to help deal with the rising pressures NHS services are facing. 

The changes PELC and NELFT are working on include increasing the range of diagnostic testing so that patients get relevant treatment, and a stronger focus on advice and follow-up services. 

Brian Jones, chief executive of PELC, said: “We are over the moon to win the contract that allows us to continue managing the UTCs at Queen’s and King George Hospitals, as well as expand our services to two others. It’s clear that one of the biggest challenges the NHS faces is a growing population. We want to help educate those who use health services to ensure that they’re not only getting the relevant and most effective treatment, but that they also do not put unnecessary pressure on emergency departments, which are designed to deal with life-threatening situations.”

Oliver Shanley, interim chief executive of NELFT, added: “This is a great opportunity for us to work in true partnership with our primary care colleagues in PELC to deliver high-quality care and benefits to our patients across the boroughs. The NHS Long Term Plan clearly sets out a vision for integrated working within health systems/localities and the contract and service provision for the UTCs in Barking, Havering and Redbridge is an excellent example of how we are starting to deliver on this vision for our local communities.”