East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT)

Our Services 

The Trust provides local services to an east London population of 955,000 and to a Bedfordshire and Luton population of 890,000.  We provide forensic services to a population of 2 million in North East London. 

East London and Luton are among the most culturally diverse parts of the country but are also among the most deprived areas.  Bedfordshire is a predominantly rural area with some of the most affluent communities in the country living alongside some of the lowest income and most deprived groups.  Working with diverse communities therefore remains a key objective across all the services we provide.

The Trust operates from over 100 community and inpatient sites.

The Trust has structured its mental health services in relation to their geographical location to enable them to link easily to local services to be part of a place-based approach to improving the health of local communities. Community health services in Newham, Tower Hamlets and Bedfordshire are managed as a unified directorate.

Our specialist services directorate encompasses child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), specialist children’s services in Newham (SCYPS), talking therapies services in Newham, Tower Hamlets, Richmond (until November 2022) and Bedfordshire, and specialist addiction services in Bedfordshire. Our forensic inpatient and community services are managed in one forensic services directorate.

There is also a range of services provided in the community via community mental health teams, home treatment teams, crisis resolution teams, rehabilitation teams, rapid response and admission avoidance teams. 

The Trust aims to provide people with alternatives to admission, where appropriate, and to provide treatment, care and support outside a hospital setting.

Additionally, as part of our mental health transformation programme, we are recruiting to new roles and teams and working more closely with partners in local authorities and the voluntary sector in Primary Care Networks. This enables us together to create bespoke care packages unique to an individual that addresses their specific needs and goals.

The Trust was rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission in September 2016 and again in April 2018. Following a further inspection, including a Well-Led Review in November and December 2021,

the Trust was rated ‘Outstanding’ again - the first mental health and community services trust in the country to achieve this rating three times.

Population Health

The Trust has made a commitment to focus on improving the health of the population/communities that we serve. A number of areas of the Trust have very high levels of deprivation, which is strongly associated with poor health and life outcomes and impacts on health inequalities. So we are taking a new approach to radically change the way we support individuals to address the causes of their ill-health with them, discuss their personal goals and the life changes they desire, and implement interventions that will have a long-term impact on their wellbeing.



Quality and Quality Improvement 

At ELFT we aspire to provide care of the highest quality, in collaboration with those who use our services. We embrace continuous improvement and learning – always seeking to do things better. To achieve this, we have to think differently, be innovative, and give everyone, at every level, the skills they need to lead change. Sometimes this involves fundamental change in the way things are done, with everyone working together sharing the same passion and commitment. Over the last 8 years, ELFT has developed a quality improvement system that supports and enables staff and service users to tackle their most complex challenges using the systematic approach of QI. We are partnered with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), the world leader in healthcare improvement, to support our improvement journey.


ELFT has a reputation as a global leader in Quality and Quality Improvement, actively supporting other organisations on their quality improvement journeys.  A key role for the Joint Chair will be to nurture a culture of quality improvement across both trusts and influencing the application of quality improvement across our ICSs.



Our new People Plan focuses on four main areas:

  • New ways of working
  • Looking after our people
  • Belonging to the NHS, and
  • Growing and developing for the future.

The Trust is focusing on drawing its workforce from local communities. We have embraced apprenticeships as a key pathway for people to embark on a career in healthcare, and to develop our existing workforce, establishing new NHS roles such as Nursing Associates and Psychology Associates. We have a range of initiatives and opportunities to promote staff development and a key priority for the Trust is retaining and looking after its people, to enable our staff to thrive. This involves identifying barriers to personal progress, talent management, providing developmental opportunities, coaching, mentoring, BAME reverse mentoring and a number of other initiatives to address inequalities and, more recently, to support staff through the cost of living crisis. 

People Participation and Co-production 

ELFT has been at the forefront of involving people with experience of our services, as key partners in helping us to improve and refine how we provide care.     There’s very little we do in ELFT without service user involvement. There will be a service user on most interview panels which gives a clear message to prospective candidates at all levels that the voice of service users is at the centre of all we do. Service users on project teams, and committees and Quality Improvement projects help to keep us grounded and remind us of our common aim – to do what matters most to people and to do things better. 


From its inception, the Trust has invested in research and innovation. We regard research activities not as an appendix of service delivery but as a core part of the Trust’s work. Our five-year plan supports the research culture and the interface between medical education and research, and is aimed at

  • Exploring and developing the synergism between research, innovation and education for the benefit of service users
  • Linking effectively quality improvement and research
  • Reinforcing the notion of academic psychiatry and ‘psychosomatics’ in education and services
  • Promoting collaboration, coproduction and inclusion across all dimensions, groups, stakeholders.