Trusts and local partners unite to improve joined-up health and care

14 October 2022

Responding to a National Audit Office (NAO) report on integrated care systems, the interim chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said:

"Trust leaders support the development of integrated care systems (ICSs) and see real opportunities to improve communities' health and care services by bringing local bodies together to better meet people's needs.

"To fulfil their potential ICSs must be true partnerships with the NHS, local government, social care services and voluntary and community sector organisations working closely together.

"The NAO's report highlights how tough it will be for systems to deliver stretching efficiency savings. Systems face significant operational challenges including workforce shortages, increased activity to tackle backlogs and ongoing COVID-19 pressures, all of which are creating major cost pressures.

"Trusts and partners are putting in place new cross-sector ways of working, but statutory ICSs are relatively new and it will take time to turn policy aims and objectives into real improvements.

"ICSs come from different starting points in terms of the health needs of their local population, the history of collaboration among local services, the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and having enough health and care professionals to meet increasing demand.

"The government can back this joined-up working by helping to boost staff recruitment and retention with a long-term, fully funded, national workforce plan, ensuring that the whole health and care system, including community services and social care, has the capacity and funding to deliver first-class care and taking appropriate cross-departmental action to prevent ill-health and support people to lead healthy lives."