Integrated Care Systems
We have recently been confirmed as an Integrated Care System (ICS) that means that NHS organisations are working in partnership with local councils and others, taking collective responsibility for managing resources, delivering NHS standards, and improving the health of the population they serve.
What does that mean in practice?
Patients should see more joined up care, and staff should find it easier to work with colleagues from other organisations. By working alongside councils, and drawing on the expertise of others such as our third sector organisations, local charities and community groups, the NHS can help people to live healthier lives for longer, and to stay out of hospital when they do not need to be there.
In return, integrated care system leaders gain greater freedoms to manage the operational and financial performance of services in their area.
It moves the focus from individual organisations to the system – from one part of the service to outing the best interests of the population as a whole.
The first wave of integrated care systems saw ten areas join the pilot, in May 2018 North Cumbria Health and Care System was one of four systems identified as advanced enough to join. NHS England and NHS Improvement will be working closely with us and supporting our development.
To join the programme a local system had to demonstrate its partnership had advanced enough to make shared decisions, improve services for the public and manage resources collectively.
Other terms you may have heard – Accountable Care Systems / Accountable Care Organisations (ACS/ACO). Some areas designated as shadow ACS are now called Integrated Care Systems.