Healthy Living in Bromley by Bow

23 Jan 2014

Written by Charlotte Murray

I was delighted to visit the NHS Flagship project at the Bromley by Bow centre and I was not disappointed by what I found. Part of a Healthy Living Centre with a onsite GP, Bromley by Bow provides a holistic approach to community integration, health, learning and wellbeing. Reducing isolation is at the heart of Bromley by Bow's mission.

Through the NHS Flagship project, Bromley by Bow has developed a 12-week digital health literacy programme, complemented by a more flexible drop-in service, aimed at ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) learners. The programme not only helps learners to develop English language and literature skills using 'health' as a theme, it also helps them to develop digital skills and utilise the power of the internet to break down the language barriers they face. It also opens up a whole new world of health information online through NHS choices and other sites.

The programme has already reached 127 people and trained 47. The second phase will see Bromley-by-Bow using a suite of 15 Samsung Galaxy tablets (purchased through the NHS Flagship funding) to take their digital health literacy programme out into the local communities working with social landlords across Tower Hamlets. In addition, they hope to work with the Olympic park. The tablets will also be used in the onsite GP surgery, and four others supported by the Bromley-by-Bow charity, to help patients to access vital health information online.

From my visit, the truly inspiring part of the model is how seamless the patient/learner journey has been made, described as the 'John Lewis approach'. Underpinned by a social prescribing model, patients/learners can move seamlessly from (and in between) a number of services all under one roof including GP, art projects, digital health literacy classes, in-house My Weight club, family learning, a food recycle initiative and allotments.

The NHS Flagship in my opinion provides the digital cherry on the top.