Next steps for developing Integrated Care Systems

Message from our chief executive, Jane Halpin on the new proposal document shared at last week’s NHS England and Improvement Board meeting…

Dear colleague

I am writing to tell you about a new proposal document, shared at last week’s national NHS England and Improvement Board meeting, about the next steps for developing Integrated Care Systems across England.

The document covers themes of partnership working, closer collaboration with and between provider organisations and a focus on the needs of our communities that will be very familiar to everyone who has followed the development of our STP, from its inception in 2016.

As you know, the formation of our own Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System in May 2020 is enabling our area’s three CCGs, the wider family of local NHS organisations, county council colleagues and the voluntary sector to join forces to improve the health and wellbeing of our population, planning services around residents’ needs as locally as possible.

A growing number of CCG staff are already involved in planning and delivering services across the ICS system and increasingly we are called on to report our performance at system level too.

The paper contains proposals to take this system working one step further, formalising our ICS, together with those across England, as a statutory organisation by April 2022. This will increase the accountability and transparency in our system – connecting the way we plan and deliver services much more closely with our payment and governance systems.

Another element of the proposals is a change to organisational form, and one recommendation is that CCGs would be formally disbanded, with CCG staff absorbed into similar roles in either the ICS or one of our Integrated Care Partnership organisations. There is a clear commitment in the document to supporting the workforce during a carefully planned transition, minimising disruption to staff and not amending existing terms and conditions of employment.

We need more time to fully digest and discuss the proposals, but our overarching message is that you should not be concerned about your future employment. There is more than enough work for everybody in our three organisations. We are sorry that we have not been able to discuss these proposals in advance of the publication of the national paper, this is due to circumstances beyond our control. We are keen to use upcoming staff briefings and other opportunities to explore them now they have been published.

Clearly we need to carefully consider the potential implications of the proposals and to discuss them thoroughly with you and our Governing Bodies before putting together a formal response to NHS England before their deadline of 8 January 2021.

Yours sincerely

Dr Jane Halpin
Joint Chief Executive, West Essex and Hertfordshire CCGs and the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System

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