The release of the ‘Integration and Innovation: working together to improve health and social care for all’ white paper sets out the biggest NHS reforms in a decade.
At the heart of these changes is a shift in focus to delivering outcomes and needs-based services for local populations, taking a Population Health approach. There will be a renewed prioritisation of improving access and quality of care, tackling health inequalities, driving primary prevention initiatives and influencing the wider determinants of health.
Integration will come in two forms. Firstly within the NHS, removing some of the cumbersome boundaries to collaboration and to make working together an organising principle. Secondly, integration between the NHS and others, principally local authorities, as well as different professions, organisations, services and sectors will work with common purpose and in partnership to deliver improved outcomes to health and wellbeing for local people.
There are a number of legislative changes proposed in the paper to remove the needless bureaucracy that has grown up around the commissioning framework for the NHS, amongst other enablers. But more importantly is the intention to establish a statutory ICS in each ICS area. These will be made up of an ICS NHS Body and a separate ICS Health and Care Partnership, bringing together the NHS, local government and partners. ICSs will be accountable for outcomes of the health of the population.
Alongside structural and legislative change will be the development of a data strategy for health and social care, which will capture and build on the lessons of the COVID-19 response and set the direction for data in a post-pandemic system, ensuring that the power of data, used properly, is able to support the transformation of care.
Should the proposals be successfully introduced, the NHS, care organisations and individuals will all benefit from integrated care as the default, reduced legal bureaucracy, and better support for social care, public health and the health services.
If you’re interested to find out more about Population Health & PHM – don’t miss our upcoming event on 24 February 2021. This 5-hour introductory event will bring together leaders and practitioners from across health and care, local and central government, education and housing to collaboratively identify and demystify the what, why and how Population Health and Population Health Management (PHM) systems can change the way we approach the delivery of UK health and care.
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