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 is currently making its way through Parliament.
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 will put Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) onto a statutory footing. 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 key elements:
- The Integrated Care Board – the new NHS organisation which will replace CCGs – responsible for the local NHS budget, planning and commissioning of services, delegating to Place where appropriate, accountable for quality and performance and for developing a five-year plan for health services
- The Integrated Care Partnership Committee – a statutory committee bringing together wider partners such as the borough councils, community and voluntary organisations to improve the health and wellbeing of the local population, tackling health inequalities and focusing on the wider determinants of health
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. In October we appointed Ian Smith as the Chair-designate of what will be the Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care Board (to be known as NHS Surrey Heartlands) and expect to announce the Chief Executive-designate shortly. Further Board announcements will follow in due course.
We are currently engaging on the constitution for our new Integrated Care Board and you can find out more and read the draft constitution.
Work is also being undertaken regarding creation of what will be our new Integrated Care Partnership Committee; further information on our detailed plans will be published in due course.