The NHS long-term plan sets out targets to embed system transformation at the heart of work to ensure high-quality sustainable services, including the ambition for the whole of England to be covered by integrated care systems (ICSs) by April 2021. This builds on the progress made to transform and integrate services under the new care models programme, which NHS Providers supported by working with partners to share learning from the vanguards across the country.
Local partnerships have developed five-year implementation plans to support the delivery of the long term plan's commitments, as well as agreed trajectories with NHS England and Improvement for becoming an ICS. While the additional revenue provided alongside the long term plan is welcome, the current mismatch between increasing patient demand and the resources available means it is not sufficient to realise the scale of ambition.
The long-term plan also focuses on how the NHS can improve prevention and tackle health inequalities. However, public health budgets have been raided since they were placed outside the NHS ringfence in 2013 and are now insufficient to allow local authorities and their partners to meaningfully address the wider determinants of health. This needs to be resolved to support the ultimate aim for STPs/ICSs to improve population health outcomes.
NHS England and Improvement proposed legislative changes in September 2019 to support collaboration and integration, and NHS Providers will continue to feed into any changes to the system architecture.