Next steps to building strong and effective integrated care systems
NHS England has revealed the next steps, including proposed legislation, on the roll-out of integrated care systems (ICS) across England, and the reform of financial flows to support it.
The document signals a renewed ambition for how it can support greater collaboration between partners in health and care systems. It is based on the experience of the earliest ICSs and wide input from colleagues across the NHS, local government and wider partners.
The proposals are designed to serve four fundamental purposes:
Improving population health and healthcare.
Tackling unequal outcomes and access.
Enhancing productivity and value for money.
Helping the NHS to support broader social and economic development.
In practice this means that from April 2021 all parts of the health and care system should be working together as integrated care systems, involving:
Stronger partnerships in local places between NHS, local government and others, with a more central role for primary care in providing joined-up care.
Provider organisationsbeing asked to step forward in formal collaborative arrangements that allow them to operate at scale.
Developing strategic commissioning through systems, with a focus on population health outcomes.
The use of digital and data to drive system working, connect health and care providers, improve outcomes and put the citizen at the heart of their own care.
In addition to setting out expectations for how integrated care systems will work from April 2021, the document also describes options for giving ICSs a firmer footing in legislation likely to take effect from April 2022 (subject to Parliamentary decision).
The moves should support the life science industry sector, where a significant and persistent barrier to the uptake of innovation has been mutually dependent organisations operating in silos.