Visiting patient

ICS already benefitting NHS patients as new approaches take hold

As the 42 Integrated Care Systems (ICS) come into effect today, a range of new initiatives and projects will be fully brought to light.

Included in the plans are new dedicated mental health staff in GP practices for children and young people. Wellbeing practitioners will operate inside local practices, signposting patients to the best advice and providing access to specialised mental health teams.

As well as the bolstered capacity, GP teams will now develop “special interests and access training” to battle specific areas such as eating disorders.

A GP practice in Stockport has taken the novel approach of rolling out blood pressure checks in betting shops to prevent hypertension, whilst sports clubs in Coventry and North Warwickshire are offering diabetes and weight management support – some teams have even reached out to specific people, providing them with tailored and one-to-one diet and lifestyle advice.

Amanda Pritchard, NHS Chief Executive, said: “Integrated care systems have the power to truly transform the way that we care for people up and down the country.

“Not only will the NHS provide care when someone is unwell or has an accident but alongside our local government partners, we must also now play an increasing key role in managing peoples’ health so that we can catch more killer conditions earlier and save lives.

“Local areas are already doing this by going out into communities to spot signs and symptoms earlier in places such as sports clubs and betting shops as well as ensuring people can access community support rather than using 999 or going to A&E.

“Through these schemes, we are already making a massive difference to peoples’ lives. The NHS will now build on this success and innovation and deliver care for patients that is fit for the future as well as saving taxpayers’ millions of pounds each year.”

The structural and hierarchical changes coming into effect are set to save an estimated £14m by reducing the number of Chief Executives working in the NHS by nearly 170.

These new changes are already proving to be an effective tool in tackling the ever-present Covid backlogs, with eight systems all but eliminating the two-year waiters ahead of the July targets. Compared to January, there are 70% fewer two-year waiters nationally.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We have learned many lessons during the pandemic, particularly following our hugely successful Covid vaccine roll-out, and one of these is that a more joined-up health and care system can help thousands more people get the care they need in the right place at the right time.

“Our Health and Care Act has now established Integrated Care Systems in law, boosting access to care for patients by removing barriers to joint-working, supporting innovative local solutions and giving local leaders more freedom to rapidly fix the issues that matter most to patients.

“I’m hugely grateful to the staff already driving life-saving initiatives in their communities through these new systems, helping to tackle disparities across the country and bust the Covid backlogs.”

More information about the new schemes and good work being carried out by ICS is available here.

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NHE May/June 2024

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