Integrated Care Systems expand to cover one in three patients

Author: Jo Carlowe
Integrated Care Systems expand to cover one in three patients

Three new areas in England have been announced as 'Integrated care systems' (ICS) which sees health and care organisations working together to plan services.

NHS England says the roll-out covers one in three people in England — some 21 million people.

The North East and North Cumbria will become the country’s largest ICS, serving more than three million people alone.

South East London becomes the first ICS in the capital while Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West makes up the third new area.

The three follow in the footsteps of the 12 earliest ICS announced in 2018, plus two devolved health systems in Greater Manchester and Surrey.

NHS England says ICS are helping people to stay healthy and independent for longer, giving more care closer to where they live and work, and improving response times and performance in areas such as cancer and A&E.

Successes highlighted by NHS England include:

  • 100,000 more general practice appointments available for patients in Gloucestershire backed up by extra home visits from paramedics and physiotherapists, and medication advice from clinical pharmacists based in GPs’ surgeries
  • Best practice care for people with atrial fibrillation is being expanded to every GP practice in West Yorkshire and Harrogate
  • single care record for each of Dorset’s 800,000 residents, allowing health and care professionals across the county to see the same information in real time. 

Speaking to health and local government leaders at the NHS Confederation’s conference, which took place this week, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens, said: “The Long-Term Plan showed how the NHS and its partners will improve care and help people live healthier day-to-day lives over the next decade.

“To meet these ambitions, every NHS organisation will need to intensify partnership working with others – including local councils and community organisations – for the good of those we serve.

“These areas are among those showing the real gains of collaboration: helping more people to stay well and avoid needless trips to hospital, while making it easier to get high-quality specialist care.

“We must keep a laser focus on making services as convenient as possible – everyone should feel like they are dealing with one system instead of having to repeat their story to a series of different organisations.”