NHS England is looking at options for giving Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) a firmer footing in legislation.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) commission most of the hospital and community NHS services in the local areas for which they are responsible. The NHS long term plan set out the intention that Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) will cover England by 2021 – with typically one CCG per ICS area.

The plan is to give ICSs direct commissioning power. This will require a change in the law. NHS England has explained two options for making this change in a new document (link below). They have proposed that all CCGs in each ICS should merge by April 2022.

This will create a ‘single pot’ of funding. The pot would bring together the CCG commissioning and primary care budgets and other funding given to these systems.

This would mean fewer commissioners with responsibility for larger areas.

Lou Patten, CEO at NHS Clinical Commissioners, said:

These proposals signal a significant moment for clinical commissioners. Whilst recognising that most commissioning functions will continue at ICS level in what is being proposed, the great work at neighbourhood and place, enhanced by the focus on the pandemic must continue. The local stewardship role of CCGs and their joint working with local authorities must not be lost – we cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater.

There is a huge amount of organisational memory within CCGs, and we must ensure staff are retained to continue the current and future commissioning responsibilities.

The NHS is asking their staff and partner organisations to give views on the proposals. They also want to hear from patients and the public.

The NHS plan to share this feedback with other health and care stakeholders to develop their ideas. This will include the Department of Health and Social Care. They will not include personal data in the information they share.

Please note that the deadline for giving your views is Friday 8 January 2021 at midnight.

Share your views here: Online survey

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Integrated Care: next steps to build strong and effective integrated care systems across England

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