We have been listening…our response to your questions

The NHS wants to seek views on Grenfell related health needs now and in the future to inform future service planning.

Our engagement team is aware through their recent engagement that the community still has some ongoing health-related concerns.  

We understand that some of these have caused a great deal of worry and we are sorry that you are experiencing this level of concern.

Therefore, we have provided some answers to some questions you have regularly raised to the NHS and other partners. We hope that the answers will provide you with some additional reassurance.

The NHS continues to be here for you and we encourage you to continue reaching out to us, so we can learn from your insight and partner with you to continue to build a health service that fully supports your health needs, now and in the future.

Q. Is the NHS ending its support to Grenfell-affected communities?

No. In Spring 2023 the NHS stated its long-term commitment to meeting the health needs of people affected by the Grenfell Tower Fire and is committed to facilitating a community-led recovery.

Part of this process involves hearing from the community, including survivors and bereaved, on their current and future health needs and working together to ensure services meet those changing health needs.
Q. How can I have my say on shaping future health services?

We welcome your views. There are a variety of ways you can have your say on shaping health services; we are here to listen and not only learn, but act on your valuable insight. You can:

Q. How can I access NHS services?

 The survivors and bereaved of the Grenfell Tower Fire have access to the NHS Dedicated Service, which provides caseworker support to link in with individuals and families to coordinate their health needs, including referrals to specialist respiratory, lung and long term monitoring services for adults, children and young people.

Further information on the full offer is provided in this Dedicated Services handbook  and you can also call the helpline 020 8637 6279 from 9am to 5pm for more information and support.

The wider community – defined as everyone living or working in the Grenfell-affected area of North Kensington – can access primary care services such as Enhanced Health Checks (EHC) and Grenfell-related appointments. These appointments provide time to discuss any health concerns you may have and will signpost you to other support if required. You can also directly access a range of voluntary and community based services designed to support emotional and physical health and wellbeing.

Our Service leaflet provides full details on how to access these services. 

Q. Is there any evidence of increased rates of cancer, respiratory issues or resident’s health getting worse as a result of the fire?

 In partnership with the council’s Public Health experts, the NHS has put in place a system of monitoring the health of North Kensington residents via over a hundred clinical indicators, including rates of diagnosis for cancers and a range of other physical and mental health issues.

To date there haven’t been any clinical indicators of worse health in the North Kensington population than in neighbouring areas that could be linked to the Grenfell Tower Fire. However, we understand people’s concerns and worries about the future of their health and that of their families so will continue to monitor a range of clinical indicators. We will also provide health checks for those concerned about their health so any future indicators can be spotted as early as possible.

Q. I have ongoing health concerns linked to breathing difficulties and coughing and am worried it may be Grenfell-related. Should I be concerned and how can I get checked?

We recognise the heightened concern and worry many of you feel.  The NHS has established a programme of enhanced respiratory and paediatric checks that were put in place for the survivors & bereaved who left the Tower on the night. The health of all these groups continues being closely monitored for all health conditions (including cancers, respiratory health and mental health) to help us understand any longer-term impacts of the tragedy. This monitoring programme has been informed by the coroner’s recommendations and experts from public health, clinicians and academia.

We have recently sought further assurances from expert bodies to ensure we are taking appropriate steps to help to support and monitor the health of the local population. If there is new evidence or findings which show additional risks, or suggestions from expert bodies about other monitoring we can introduce, we will change the approach we are taking.

We recommend any individuals with health concerns to speak to their GP practice so that a clinical assessment can be done and a prompt referral can be made for symptoms requiring further investigation and any treatment required can start at an early stage.

Q. I have concerns about the physical and mental health of my children? Who can I speak to?

 As your child grows older, we appreciate you may develop new concerns about your child’s health. Although a variety of support services are in place we always want to hear from you if ever you feel you need any additional information and support.

For physical health concerns, we offer children and young people Enhanced Health Checks (EHC) and extended appointments and these are accessible through your GP. If you believe your child will benefit from receiving emotional wellbeing support, there are a variety of therapies and wellbeing support accessible via the Grenfell Health and Wellbeing service. You can contact the service directly by calling 020 8637 6279, completing a referral form on their website, speaking to a Dedicated Service support worker, or ask your GP to refer you.

Q. I have serious concerns about the toxicology of the soil where I live and am worried that my family is being poisoned.

We appreciate that concerns regarding the levels toxicity in the soil around the Grenfell Tower is a worry for some members of the community.

Testing of the soil and fruit and vegetables grown around Grenfell Tower by the independent company commissioned by the council (see the report) found no evidence of harmful contamination due to the fire.  We continue to closely monitor the health of local residents through our monitoring and health check arrangements (see above).

Concurrently the NHS has been engaging with the community to provide services that address any health needs that have emerged. Partnership working informed the original Health and Wellbeing strategy, which referenced the changes the community requested of healthcare. This resulted in Enhanced Health Checks (EHCs) being made available and the development and co-production (with the community and Health Partners) of Cultural Competency training for Primary Care.

You can directly access services such as Enhanced Health Checks (EHCs) as well as emotional support from the Grenfell Health and Wellbeing Service. To make it easier for you to receive EHCs, you can access a community Enhanced Health Check at a centre near to where you live, as well as via your GP. Telephone 07768 271733 (between 9am-5pm) or email nhsnwl.grenfellenhancedhealth@nhs.net

Q. Do the council and the NHS work together?

The NHS funds and provides services that are designed to address health needs associated with the Grenfell Tower Fire. These services are managed separately to services provided and funded by council.

Health service providers may work together with the services run or funded by the council, with a person’s agreement, where joint working is the best way of meet that person’s support needs and goals.

The council and the NHS do regularly work together, such as in 2018 when a document called the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) was published.

The aim of this document was to assess all the current and future needs of Grenfell-affected communities, including their health needs.

The JSNA is currently being updated and this is being jointly managed by RBKC and the NHS North West London, with a number of focus groups and interviews planned as part of the evidence-gathering process.

The testimony and feedback provided from communities and other partners will be collated and used to inform the future design of services, including those provided to meet health needs.

Q. I am feeling low and down. Where can I get help?

 Central and North West London Foundation NHS Trust (CNWL) provide a Health & Wellbeing Service to support your mental health. The service works with adults, children, couples and families and there is no ‘one size fits all’ - they will work with you to find the best kind of support for you (which might include culturally-sensitive support). Therapists are available who speak a number of languages and the service also offers therapy using confidential interpreters in all languages including British Sign Language. Having an interpreter does not reduce the effectiveness of the therapy.

 You, your child and / or family can find help from the Health & Wellbeing service by completing a referral form on their website. If you prefer you can talk to one of their staff by calling 020 8637 6279, or ask your GP to refer you.

Q. Does the NHS have any connection to the council’s Restorative Justice programme?

No, the NHS is not one of the core respondents to the Public Inquiry.

The Restorative Justice programme is separate from individual settlements and its purpose is to bring benefits to claimants and to the wider group of bereaved and survivors and residents in the immediate local community.

The consultations in relation to Restorative Justice are currently expected to start in September 2023 and will be carried out by RBKC, not the NHS. However, the NHS is likely to attend and input into consultation activities and events and to provide support to those who may be impacted.