New guidance on ICSs: what you need to know

One in three people in England – that is 21 million, are set to benefit from improved health and care, as NHE England announced three new areas as ‘Integrated Care Systems’.

The new areas to benefit from the joining up of services include North East and North Cumbria which will become the country’s largest ICS serving more than three million people, as well as South East London and Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West.

So, what have these areas demonstrated? Each has shown that its partners all “share a common vision to improve health and care” supported by operational and financial plans and proposals for collective leadership and accountability.

ICS life cycle

Simultaneously NHS England published guidance – a maturity matrix for ICSs, outlining the main features of an ICS against five domains and the four stages: emerging, developing, maturing ICS and thriving ICS.

The matrix has been designed to ensure a consistent framework for all regions and systems across the country. To move between each stage, a core set of capabilities has to be met from transparent and robust governance to streamlined commissioning arrangements fully embedded across all partners. For a system to formally achieve ICS status, they will need to meet the attributes of a maturing ICS.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s seven regional teams will provide the national and regional support and oversight. Each ICS will agree its objectives with their regional director and be accountable for system-wide performance against these objectives.

Both NHSE/I will be responsible for policy and strategy development including overall health system strategy, the NHS provider landscape and health commissioning strategy.

ICS autumn seminars

We are running a series of free ICS seminars across our national offices: Birmingham on 22 October, Cambridge on 12 September and Manchester 24 September offices this autumn. If you would like to receive an invitation or register your interest, please email [email protected].

Charlotte Lewis, Senior Associate and Rhian Vandrill, Partner

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