Building on NHS England’s commitments in the Long-Term Plan, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care set out proposals for legislative change in a Government White Paper published in February 2021. The proposals will bring health and care services closer together, removing legal barriers to integration and help create the right conditions for local partnerships to thrive. The Health and Care Bill has recently had its first reading in the House of Commons (July 2021).
Ultimately this will support local health and care systems to deliver higher quality care to their communities, in a way that is less legally bureaucratic, more accountable, and more joined up, by bringing together the NHS, local government and partners together to tackle the needs of their communities as a whole and in particular to reduce health inequalities.
The proposed legislation there will be a single Integrated Care System for Surrey Heartlands which will be a statutory body. The move to statutory ICSs will involve dissolution of CCGs, with their statutory responsibilities moving across to the new ICS bodies along with additional direct commissioning responsibilities. CCG staff will also transfer to the new organisation, supported by a clear Employment Commitment from NHS England/Improvement.
How the new ICS will work
Each ICS will have two Boards:
- Integrated Care Board – essentially an NHS Board which will also include the Local Authority – responsible for the planning and provision of services, delegating to place where appropriate, and accountable to NHS England
- Partnership Board bringing together wider partners such as the borough councils, community and voluntary organisations, supporting integration across the system
Further information is included in the draft Bill; once passed into law, the new statutory ICSs are expected to be in place from April 2022.
As a system, we are now making preparations to become a statutory ICS from next April which will include shadow Chair and Chief Executive appointments later this year. Further information on our plans will be published in due course.