Designing integrated care systems (ICSs) in England: An overview on the arrangements needed to build strong health and care systems across the country

Impact on library policy/practice:

MAP has already looked at the implications of ICSs for LKS in a policy briefing on Integrated Care Organisations – a reminder of the impact below.

  • There may be an opportunity to deliver evidence and knowledge to managers, commissioners and transformation teams as health care services undergo this change.
  • As organisational boundaries blur and take a ‘whole population’ approach, LKS may be required to adapt their service delivery models accordingly.
  • If healthcare moves away from a competitive structure and towards a collaborative one, there will be many opportunities relating to knowledge management that could support the sharing and dissemination of good practice, innovation and organisational knowledge.
  • LKS will have to consider how the negotiation and procurement of resources needs to adapt to reflect the changes in organisational structures.
  • There is a clear role for technology in supporting the emergence of integrated care systems and Accountable Care Organisations that presents an opportunity for digitally enabled
  • Highly likely that LKS in sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) and the wider region are already working together in partnership and  can share experience of partnership working and collaboration
  • Fabulous opportunity to showcase our health literacy skills

Source:  NHS England

Link to main document

Publication format:  PDF

Date of publication: June 2019

Summary of driver:

The NHS Long-Term Plan set the ambition that every part of the country should be an integrated care system by 2021. It encourages all organisations in each health and care system to join forces, so they are better able to improve the health of their populations and offer well-coordinated efficient services to those who need them. This overview is for all the health and care leaders working to make that ambition a reality, whether in NHS acute or primary care, physical or mental health, local government or the voluntary sector. It sets out the different levels of management that make up an integrated care system, describing their core functions, the rationale behind them and how they will work together.

There are three important levels at which decisions are made:

  • Neighbourhoods (populations circa 30,000 to 50,000 people) – served by groups of GP practices working with NHS community services, social care and other providers to deliver more coordinated and proactive services, including through primary care networks.
  • Places (populations circa 250,000 to 500,000 people) – served by a set of health and care providers in a town or district, connecting primary care networks to broader services including those provided by local councils, community hospitals or voluntary organisations.
  • Systems (populations circa 1 million to 3 million people) – in which the whole area’s health and care partners in different sectors come together to set strategic direction and to develop economies of scale.

This overview recognises that each area is at a different stage of its journey and provides examples of best practice from all of these three levels. Regional and national support will be delivered by NHS England and NHS Improvement.


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