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Care England Publishes its “A Year of Integrated Care Systems” Report

Care England has today published its report ‘From Inception to Implementation: A Year of Integrated Care Systems.’

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says: “Attempts to integrate health and social care have been a national priority for a number of decades, albeit with limited success. This agenda has been accelerated following the introduction of 42 Integrated Care Systems last year. However, successful integration will not be materialised overnight. It will take time to overcome deep-rooted barriers. Bridging the gap between the health and social care sectors stretches beyond the reorganisation of the structures. It is about bringing system partners together under one banner, reforming practice, and improving service delivery. Outcomes must come before process and bureaucracy. Care England set out to analyse and reflect on the first year of ICSs and understand what has worked well, what has not and how we can accelerate the integration agenda. Now is the opportunity for change.”

Throughout May and June 2023, Care England conducted a series of qualitative interviews with ICS leaders from across England to understand their system’s key challenges and successes within four themes:

Published today, 10 July 2023, ‘From Inception to Implementation: A Year in Integrated Care Systems’ examines how Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) have developed since they were formally established in July 2022. The report seeks to place a specific focus on how ICSs have managed and overcome pressures associated with the planning, coordination and commissioning of health and care services.

  • New structures and managing the change
  • Identifying and overcoming the pressure points
  • The priorities and ambitions
  • Where do we go next?

The report concludes with a set of tangible recommendations aimed at both ICSs and the Government, which, if implemented, would further accelerate integration between health and social care, whilst overcoming system barriers identified through the report.

Recommendations include:

  • ICS leaders should include a representative from adult social care on the ICP or ICB to represent the views of care providers. Additional vehicles should be created to gather insights from the care sector and aid strategic decision-making.
  • The Government should allocate ringfenced national funding for ICSs over multiple years to support long-term planning and sustainability of the health and social care sector.
  • ICSs should conduct a comprehensive market assessment of their adult social care markets, overseen by DHSC and NHS England, but under the scrutiny of the CQC.
  • A national Adult Social Care Workforce Strategy should be developed by Government.
  • Shared learning platforms should be developed at regional and national levels to promote collaboration and improvement in adult social care, NHS England, and ICSs.

The recommendations and findings are available on the Care England website. You can download the full report here.

In May 2023, Care England announced the expansion of its membership to include ICS. If you would like to find out more, please click here.

Martin Green continues: “As Integrated Care Systems embark on their second year, our report helps pave the way for how these systems can achieve their statutory functions and embrace an often overlooked sector as a critical long-term strategic partner to operationalise the integration agenda. The findings of the report, and the recommendations we present, capture a representative account of the challenges the health and social care sector faces and how we can seek to resolve them. We must shift our focus from organisations and processes to people and outcomes. This report should be recognised as important counsel to support ICS leaders in tackling integration challenges. Care England remains committed to supporting ICSs nationwide to ensure the continued progression toward meaningful integration.”

Jeff Banks, Director of Strategic Partners, Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System, says: “The Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Partnership were pleased to have the opportunity of contributing to this study. As we develop our new Integrated Care System, we need to be prepared to engage in conversations with all parts of our system and to learn from these on how we can better work together to achieve our common objectives. We welcome the report and will review its findings with interest as we and our partners develop our relationships with the sector over the coming year.”

Jane Brennan, Director of Nursing (Adult Health and Care), Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB, says: “Care England’s report offers a comprehensive account of the challenges and opportunities that have arisen since the inception of Integrated Care Systems a year ago. Whilst we believe we have made progress in accelerating the integration between health and social care, we realise more needs to be done, however, the ICB and systems partners are committed to continuous improvement. The report offers a blueprint for a way forward and one we will certainly look to keep close to us as we embark on our second year as a system.”





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