Care England has today published its ‘From Inception to Implementation: A Year of Integrated Care Systems’ report, which seeks to place a specific focus on how ICSs have managed and overcome pressures associated with the planning, coordination and commissioning of health and care services.
Throughout May and June 2023, Care England conducted a series of qualitative interviews with ICS leaders from across England to understand their system’s key challenges and successes.
The report concludes with a set of tangible recommendations aimed at both ICSs and the Government, which, if implemented, would further accelerate integration between health and social care, whilst overcoming system barriers identified through the report. Recommendations include:
- ICS leaders should include a representative from adult social care on the ICP or ICB to represent the views of care providers. Additional vehicles should be created to gather insights from the care sector and aid strategic decision-making.
- The Government should allocate ringfenced national funding for ICSs over multiple years to support long-term planning and sustainability of the health and social care sector.
- ICSs should conduct a comprehensive market assessment of their adult social care markets, overseen by DHSC and NHS England, but under the scrutiny of the CQC.
- A national Adult Social Care Workforce Strategy should be developed by Government.
- Shared learning platforms should be developed at regional and national levels to promote collaboration and improvement in adult social care, NHS England, and ICSs.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said: “Attempts to integrate health and social care have been a national priority for a number of decades, albeit with limited success. This agenda has been accelerated following the introduction of 42 Integrated Care Systems last year. However, successful integration will not be materialised overnight. It will take time to overcome deep-rooted barriers. Bridging the gap between the health and social care sectors stretches beyond the reorganisation of the structures. It is about bringing system partners together under one banner, reforming practice, and improving service delivery. Outcomes must come before process and bureaucracy. Care England set out to analyse and reflect on the first year of ICSs and understand what has worked well, what has not and how we can accelerate the integration agenda. Now is the opportunity for change.”