After a period of closer working between Surrey Heartlands and East Surrey partners, July has seen East Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and First Community Health & Care become part of the Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System (ICS). This means that they will no longer form part of the current Sussex and East Surrey Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP).

While there is no immediate change to local commissioning arrangements, East Surrey, Guildford & Waverley, North West Surrey and Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have agreed to explore a formal merger to create one new commissioning organisation from April 2020 which further supports this direction of travel.

Surrey Heartlands Senior Responsible Officer Dr Claire Fuller said: “The NHS Long-Term Plan sets an expectation for health and care partners to work more collaboratively across local systems and, as far as possible, across local authority areas, taking a collective responsibility for the populations they serve. Given this direction of travel it makes sense for East Surrey partners to work with Surrey Heartlands, supporting closer alignment with Surrey County Council and our integration agenda, as well as the delivery of the Surrey Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

“We believe this new direction of travel will bring the most benefit to the people of Surrey and Sussex as it will enable more joined-up and collaborative decision-making across the system and help us tackle some of the wider determinants of health that will make a real difference to local people.

“This new way of working will be supported by further development of Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs), which are developing across local geographies to ensure the more effective provision of services. These will need to retain the relationships at local level and strengthen primary care within the new developing ‘Primary Care Networks’. This represents a fundamental shift in how the NHS will work and creating the right partnerships will be key in ensuring our populations get the best possible health outcomes.”