Government announces independent review of Integrated Care Systems

The government has announced an independent review of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) to improve health outcomes across the country.

The review into oversight of ICSs intends to reduce disparities and boost efficiency, financial accountability and autonomy. It will explore how to empower local leaders to focus on improving outcomes for their populations.

Possible measures include giving local leaders more control and also making them more accountable for performance and spending. National targets will be reduced with an attempt to make the healthcare system more transparent.

The review is to be led by Patricia Hewitt, former health secretary and current chair of NHS Norfolk & Waveney Integrated Care Board.

As of 1 July, there are 42 ICSs across England.

Hewitt said: "I am delighted to have been asked to lead this review of how Integrated Care Systems can best be empowered and supported to succeed.

"By bringing together local government, the NHS and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, ICSs provide the biggest opportunity in a generation to improve health outcomes, transform health and care services and reduce health inequalities. Despite the many challenges we face, I am excited by how much has already been achieved in many different systems, including in Norfolk and Waveney, and optimistic about what our partnerships can do in future as we respond to the different needs of our own communities.

"This review will focus on how national policy and regulation can most effectively support and enable local systems to solve problems locally. It will build on the welcome work already done by NHS England to develop a new operating model.

"I look forward to working with colleagues from all 42 ICSs as well as DHSC, NHSE, colleagues in local government and others as we respond to the Health Secretary’s and the Chancellor’s invitation to help create a system of regulation and accountability based on the principle that change should be locally led and nationally enabled."

Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay said: "I’m focused on supporting the health and care system through what we know will be a challenging winter but also crucially making the changes that will better prepare us for the future.

"Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach dictated from a ministerial office, local leaders are best placed to make decisions about their local populations and I want to empower them to find innovative solutions to tackle problems and improve care for patients.

"Fewer top-down national targets and greater transparency will help us deliver this aim and I am grateful to Patricia Hewitt for agreeing to lead this vital review to help us get this right. I look forward to reviewing her findings."

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