MPs warn urgent action is needed to ensure efficiency of Integrated Care Systems

A new Health and Social Care Committee report is calling for the government and NHS England to address key concerns if an opportunity to deliver change through Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) is to be realised.

Published last week, a new report from UK Parliament, is advising that ambitions to prioritise preventing long-term health complications, such as ill-health, should be thought about before attending to problems that have caused acute, short-term pressures on the health and social care sector.

person holding hands

An inquiry, with a focus on autonomy and accountability, uncovered a positive response for the potential of Integrated Care Systems (ICS) to deliver on the challenges faced by the sector, but MPs are warning of a serious lack of clarity – authorities fear that though the Care Quality Commission will assume legal powers to assess ICSs from April, the government has failed to define key aspects such as whether ratings are required and the priorities that an assessment would be based on.

MPs have also expressed concern within the report, which can be found in full here, that the success of the restructuring programme could be jeopardised if NHS England continue to take a ‘command and control’ approach – the report says it is vital that the government and NHS England should not dictate how ICSs deliver local outcomes.

ICSs – partnerships of organisations that come together to plan and deliver joined up health and care services – are designed to help improve the health of people in local areas. The restructuring programme established 42 ICSs in England and came into force in July 2022.

Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, Steve Brine MP, said: ‘This is a key moment for Ministers and for NHS England. We have found genuine enthusiasm for the potential of Integrated Care Systems to make a real change, not only in how health and social care is delivered but in prioritising the needs of local populations and preventing ill-health.  

‘It would be an opportunity lost if that success was undermined by the need to prioritise central government targets or a focus on meeting short-term demands. We urge Ministers not to lose sight of the crucially important prevention agenda and we call for them to adopt a light-touch outcome driven approach to this new way of working.   

‘We were pleased that the Government commissioned the Hewitt Review, considering similar themes to our own inquiry, and welcome the spotlight that is being shone on ICSs at this early stage in their development. We hope to see this focus maintained and look forward to considering the Review’s findings.’

Image: Matheus Ferrero


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top