Government commitment to ICS development and success welcome

14 June 2023

On the government's responses to a report by MPs and to the Hewitt Review on integrated care systems (ICSs), Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive of NHS Providers, said:

"Ministers' commitment to the continued development and success of ICSs is welcome, as is their recognition that decisions about who is best placed to deliver services and how should usually be made locally.

"The role that providers have to play whether within systems, in place-based partnerships or as provider collaboratives will be key to delivering on the promises this way of working offers.

"A focus on driving improvement and development of systems through existing work such as the NHS England operating framework provides helpful clarity. We hope that the NHS at every level will commit to the cultural shift necessary to bring this about.

"We agree with Hewitt and the government about the importance of preventing poor health as a core purpose of ICSs. Better public health is vital to improving the NHS and to successful ICSs. We urge ministers to take a cross-government approach to opportunities to prevent ill-health.

"We hope that the government will be able to follow through on long-term, forward looking funding, which will help trust and system leaders to plan more effectively.

"Balancing delivery of clear national priorities for the NHS with local ambitions for patients remains challenging in the face of continued pressure and record demand for services. The forthcoming NHS mandate should ensure that all parts of the NHS, including mental health and community services, are given appropriate attention.

"We welcome government acknowledgement that a further review of the capital and finance regime is needed. We are keen to work with the government on more joined up local care and outcomes including the use of pooled budgets."