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The Kings Fund – The first days of statutory integrated care systems: born into a storm

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The Kings Fund – The first days of statutory integrated care systems: born into a storm

The King’s Fund has been following the development of integrated care systems since 2017. Over this time, we have conducted several pieces of research including interviews with senior system leaders as the concept has developed. To continue this work, over the summer and early autumn of 2022, we spoke to 25 chairs and chief executives of ICBs and chairs of ICPs, asking them to reflect on the creation of the new bodies, and their very earliest days as statutory entities. If you would like to know more read on.

Thursday 22nd December 2022

“The first days of statutory integrated care systems: born into a storm

On 1 July 2022, integrated care systems (ICSs) finally arrived in statutory form, some five years after their initial conception through the first of the sustainability and transformation plans.

ICSs are partnerships that bring together NHS organisations, local authorities and others to take collective responsibility for planning services, improving health and reducing inequalities across geographical areas. There are 42 of them in England. They stem from a recognition that the traditional barriers between GPs, hospitals and community services, between physical and mental health, and between health and social care need to be broken down to provide care that is much better integrated. So that people with multiple health conditions, not just single diseases, are better supported. Integral to the concept is that a much stronger emphasis needs to be placed on prevention, on population health and on tackling socio-economic inequalities and the health consequences that flow from them – things that neither local authorities, nor the NHS can achieve on their own, even when working with the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector.

Following the 2022 Health and Care Act, what in most places was a single non-statutory partnership board for an ICS has been replaced by two statutory parts: an integrated care board (ICB), responsible for NHS services but with much wider duties, and a statutory integrated care partnership (ICP), convened by local government and the NHS, which brings together local authorities, the VCSE sector and others concerned with health and wellbeing to develop a health and care strategy for the ICS. ICPs have until December to produce a draft of these strategies, which the ICB will be required by law to take into account when commissioning and delivering NHS services. And the near alliteration between an ICB and an ICP operating as part of an ICS does not making explaining any of this to non-specialists easy, especially verbally. “

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Authors: Nicholas Timmins, Chris Naylor, Anna Charles