The term ‘anchor institution’ originated in healthcare systems in the United States, but an anchor institution doesn’t have to be a healthcare provider. Anchor institutions are large public sector organisations that are unlikely to relocate – they are effectively ‘anchored’ in their community. They have the potential to use their sizeable assets to invest in their local community through procurement and spending power, workforce and development, and buildings and land. As public sector organisations, they are required to deliver value for money. The Trust currently employs over 12,000 people and sees well over one million patients each year. We spend over £1 billion annually and use a vast array of supplies. We run a wide range of buildings and transport.

Developing our offer as an anchor institution means thinking about

The term is having a moment, but how does it affect our Trust?


like Project Search. Our internal learning and development programme as well as our growing staff networks can help our people further develop their careers. As an anchor institution, the Trust must build on this work to maximise the benefit for our local area.


“ How can we use our resources to support our local community?”

and planning carefully how all of that can be used to support our local community – individuals, businesses and organisations.

AN ANCHOR FOR EMPLOYMENT The Trust employs over 12,000 people – we have the opportunity to ensure we provide stable jobs with fair pay and working conditions for each and every member of staff. We want our workforce to be more representative of our local community. We already create paths into employment with us through our work experience and apprenticeship programmes, as well as specialist training programmes

Spring 2020

With an annual turnover exceeding £1 billion, we have an opportunity to examine where we spend our money, and ensure we’re keeping as much as possible in our area. This could mean, for example, purchasing produce from a local supplier to stock kitchens at all five of our hospitals, considering social value in our contracts by ensuring suppliers are committed to paying living wages or

providing good jobs in our community. This requires developing tools and guidance to help build this approach into our procurement processes.


While each of our hospitals has a long history to be proud of, their distinguished age leaves us with some challenges. The Government’s initiative to invest in hospitals – in which we were named in summer 2019 – offers an opportunity to consider how we ensure our spaces better serve our local community. This could mean enabling local groups and businesses to use parts of our estates, creating accessible

green spaces for our community, or providing more affordable housing for staff.


Health and care-related travel constitutes five per cent of all road travel in England, contributing heavily to air pollution, which can negatively impact acute and chronic health conditions. As an anchor institution, we could work with local councils and the community to try to improve public transport access to our hospitals where possible. Our growing number of virtual consultations and clinics are also supporting this goal by reducing unnecessary visits to hospital.

COLLABORATING ACROSS OUR AREA We’re partnering with Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals Foundation Trust and Imperial College London to develop place-based approaches to improving health and economic outcomes in our community, as part of our work to develop the Trust’s offer as an anchor institute. We envision these partnerships could help us offer more opportunities to effectively respond to the needs of our local community, and be accountable to delivering on our objectives.


Contact Dr Bob Klaber ( or Dr Dominique Allwood (, and read the Health Foundation report “Building healthier communities: the role of the NHS as an anchor institution.”

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