The Government Response to the Committee’s report, Integrated Care Systems: autonomy and accountability, has been published today by the Department of Health and Social Care. It also sets out its response to recommendations made in the Hewitt Review, commissioned by the Government.
Read the Government Response
The Committee’s report, published in March, had called for the Government and NHS England to address key concerns if an opportunity to deliver real change was to be realised. The inquiry, focusing on autonomy and accountability, had found genuine enthusiasm for the potential of ICSs to deliver on challenges facing the health and care sectors. However, MPs had warned of a serious lack of clarity in some areas risking acute short-term pressures being given priority over longer term ambitions such as preventing ill-health.
Chair comment Commenting on the Government’s response Health and Social Care Committee Chair Steve Brine MP said:
“We welcome the Government’s acceptance of the importance of outcomes as a basis for setting targets for ICSs. It is also good to see that preventing ill-health, an ongoing focus of our work, will be at the heart of the Major Conditions Strategy with the recognition of the need to move towards preserving good health.
“However, it’s disappointing that some of our recommendations will not be taken forward. We had called for ICBs to guarantee a seat for a public health representative, but the Government has not changed its position to enforce this where it is not happening.
“We remain concerned about the Government’s lack of clarity about what the new joined-up systems should be delivering. Without this, it will be difficult to measure their success and ensure accountability in future.”
Cllr David Baines, Vice-Chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board said:
“The LGA was closely involved in the development of the Hewitt Review and we support the Government’s continued commitment to an approach in which ICSs drive forward a collaborative approach to getting better health and care outcomes for their populations.
“The LGA is largely supportive of the recommendations of the Hewitt Review to Government, in particular those which proposed a significant reduction in the number of national targets for Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), and the clear focus on prevention as a priority for ICSs.
“We are therefore disappointed that the Government has rejected the Hewitt Review suggestion to grow the proportion of funding spent on prevention by 1 per cent per year.
“Historically, prevention has always been overshadowed by the immediate funding challenges for acute and hospital care. Without resources specifically earmarked for prevention, we will not see the radical step change in NHS investment that is required to turn the curve on a growing burden of ill-health and long-term conditions.
“While the report recognises the value of sector-led improvement we are also somewhat disappointed that the Government has not given an explicit commitment to supporting the development of a peer-led approach for ICS leaders.
“We will continue to work with Government and NHS England and other key national agencies to ensure that the voice of local government, its interests and its vital contribution is reflected in the implementation of the recommendations on the future development of ICSs.”