By Care Home Management magazine freelance writer Eleanore Robinson
In July 2022, 42 Integrated Care Systems (ICS) were launched with the aim of joining up health and social care systems to provide more seamless services.
Six months on, however, social care providers are finding it hard to get involved with these new bodies, set up to replace CCGs, which are now responsible for planning and commissioning publicly-funded social care services.
Nathan Jones, senior policy, research and projects officer at the National Care Forum, said: “Our members are finding it incredibly difficult to engage with the ICS at system-level at the top level.”
Key to success, he feels, is when providers had good relationships with the local authority and health board commissioners before the ICSs went live.
Speaking to Care Home Management, Care England chief executive Professor Martin Green said that ICS remain focused on NHS improvement, and that partnerships were only reached on that basis. ‘When they do reach out to social care it is on the basis of what they can do for the NHS,’ he said.
Jones adds that social care not having a statutory voice on the Integrated Care Board has proved a real barrier to collaboration.
Yet, Jones said: “Many of our members would give good insights into how to make discharges work better and how you could prevent admission in the first place, but they don’t get listened to.”