Over the past two years, integrated care systems (ICSs) have been formed across England based on voluntary arrangements.
In an ICS, NHS organisations, in partnership with local councils and others, take collective responsibility for managing resources, delivering NHS care, and improving the health of the population they serve.
By working alongside councils and drawing on the expertise of others – such as local charities and community groups – the NHS says it can help people to live healthier lives for longer, and to stay out of hospital when they do not need to be there.
NHS England (NHSE) and NHS Improvement have been consulting on the future of integrated care systems in England. The consultation – which closed on 8 January – included proposals to put ICSs on a statutory footing, and pledged to “work much more closely with local government and the voluntary sector at place”.
Broadly, the LGA supports NHSE’s proposals for greater collaboration within the NHS and between the NHS and local government, to join up planning and delivery of services to improve health outcomes.
We also welcome the strong recognition of local government as a key planning and delivery partner at the centre of ICSs.
We do, however, have some concerns about how the proposals will play out in practice, particularly given the stated preference for ICSs to become statutory NHS bodies, albeit with local government representation on their boards.
We have published a briefing (available at www.local.gov.uk/integration-and-better-care-fund) that summarises the key proposals of relevance to local government, and highlights some of the LGA’s key messages and concerns.
While the consultation has now closed and the LGA has responded (see www.local.gov.uk/parliament/briefings-and-responses), please do email your council’s response to firstname.lastname@example.org to help inform our ongoing discussions with officials on NHS reform.