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NHS Confederation: Integrated care systems are an important step forward

With news emerging recently that NHS England is backing plans to abolish clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) by April 2022, with many of their current provisions being merged instead into integrated care systems (ICSs), NHS Chief Executive Danny Mortimer has backed the move as an “important step towards the future of health and care”.

He explained: “The experience of Covid-19 has demonstrated the importance of organisations from across the NHS, local government and community and voluntary organisations working collaboratively for the good of their local communities.

“This is the future of health and care, and the announcement of 11 new integrated care systems represents another important step towards achieving this.

 “The evidence and our members are clear that joined-up health and care is better for both patients and the taxpayer, providing more efficient care and allowing organisations to work together to tackle health inequalities and improve health outcomes of whole populations.

“For these ambitions to be fully achieved, we need build on the progress that has been made in recent years and update the current legal and regulatory framework to ensure it better incentivises and enables collaboration and partnership working.”

NHS England’s legislative recommendations are believed to include a desire to see ICSs become a statutory corporate NHS body, which additionally absorbs CCG statutory functions into the ICS.

Up until present, NHS England has steered free of a full reorganisation, but in light of some of the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, the benefits seen through a closer interworking – as highlighted by Mr Mortimer too – and the development of ICSs which are currently operating, there is now a growing desire to make the significant shift away from a CCG model.

Currently, it is understood that there are around 130 CCGs and 42 ICSs and sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) which are due to become ICSs.

It has been reported that NHS England are seeking to give an assurance of job security for CCG staff below the top level during the transitional period.

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