Background Information

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The Exploring our Futures project aimed to support local services to prepare for the future, by enabling participants to discuss and consider what health and care in Lambeth and Southwark might be like in 2030. The project has been a collaboration between local organisations and individuals, instigated and funded by the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.

Exploring our futures

A collaborative venture for Lambeth and Southwark


The Exploring our Futures project was based on the Charity’s belief that that now is the right time to start thinking about the challenges that the local health and social care system will face in the longer term. The Charity, along with local partners, works to deliver a world-class health and social care system for Lambeth and Southwark. If local partners are to achieve this, we need to start thinking now about the strategic challenges that we will face in the longer term. Such shared understanding should also help us work more collaboratively together.

“We have a long history of supporting health and healthcare in Lambeth and Southwark, most obviously through supporting Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals. For example the Charity contributed to the construction of the Evelina Children’s Hospital on the St Thomas’ site.”

~ Peter Hewitt, Chief Executive, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.

What and how?

The Exploring our Futures programme was structured around four stakeholder events which took place between March and July 2012 and which were underpinned by analysis by RAND and the King’s Fund.

  • The first event (29 March) looked closely at the core challenges within the population of Lambeth and Southwark, and considered the implications of these for the future. Drawing on existing analysis, local and national, we looked at the current pattern of health services, the way in which they are evolving, and the degree to which they address the population’s needs in Lambeth & Southwark.
  • The second event (4 May) focused on what the future might hold in store. It explored in depth the key trends and drivers that will affect the population and services in the future. The King’s Fund presented the output of a major piece of horizon scanning work that encompasses demographic, social and epidemiological trends alongside technological and medical advances. There were outside speakers to help challenge thinking about areas such as the future for older people, future technologies and the future workforce.
  • The third event (24 May) built on the first two events and through expert facilitation from idenk helped us build a range of scenarios for health and social care in Lambeth and Southwark.
  • The fourth and final event (11 July) provided an opportunity to reflect upon the scenarios we had developed and their implications for us today. We road tested their credibility and considered their implications for local strategies and what individuals and organisations can do to work towards them.

The events and the underpinning data analysis have helped us explore the different possible futures for our local health and social care system.

What next?

The Exploring our Futures project aimed to involve as many people in Lambeth and Southwark as possible. Members of the public, patients, voluntary sector, health professionals, Chairs and Chief Executives were all invited. The project gave participants the space and structure to step momentarily away from day to day pressures and spend time exploring longer term challenges together.

The Charity, together with the King’s Fund, idenk and RAND Europe is now preparing a number of ‘outputs’ from these events. These outputs are intended to be ‘tools’ which will help our partners in Lambeth and Southwark take forward the principles and commitment made during the Exploring our Futures project. For example, a ‘journey planner’ tool is currently being developed based on the vision and challenges discussed and agreed at these events. It is hoped that these tools will help local partners to develop their own individual strategies over the coming years.

To this end the Charity is keen to continue the discussion with local partners. Please contact Sarah Hurcombe, Policy Advisor, at should you wish to discuss how the Exploring our Futures work can help your own work.

“I believe that being a catalyst for innovation is not just about supporting current innovative ideas, but that it should also mean that, from time to time, the Charity brings in outside expertise to hold a mirror up to our local efforts and challenge our existing ways of thinking and working.”

~ Peter Hewitt, Chief Executive, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.

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