Trusts and partners united to boost joined-up health and care

08 February 2023

Responding to a report by MPs about the introduction of integrated care systems (ICSs), NHS Providers director of policy and strategy Miriam Deakin said:

"Trust leaders support ICSs which offer great opportunities to improve local health and care services by bringing together a range of organisations to better meet people's needs.

"The public accounts committee is right to highlight that creating ICSs alone cannot address all of the major underlying problems across the national health and care system, including underinvestment in capital, severe workforce shortages, the gap between demand and capacity, and underfunded and unreformed social care.

"Tackling these huge challenges is vital, and we share the MPs' concerns.

"In the months since the new Health and Care Act came into force the NHS has been confronted with the most widespread industrial action in its history, surges in COVID-19 and flu cases, and unprecedented operational pressure.

"It is too soon to pass judgement on how the system of ICSs is working. To succeed, ICSs, the government and national policymakers must do all they can to improve the wider factors of good public health – including housing, education, employment and inequalities.

"Every part of the system from top to bottom must be given the right incentives and held to account on delivery of better outcomes for communities. To fulfil their potential ICSs must be true partnerships with the NHS, local government, social care services and voluntary and community sector organisations.

"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.

"It's important too that both ministers and the Hewitt Review of ICSs, due to be published this spring, pay heed to the committee's findings."