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King’s Fund: ICSs could be a ‘real game changer’

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8 March 2018

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Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) could be a ‘real game changer’, the King’s Fund (KF) has said.

Speaking at the KF event health and care explained yesterday (Tuesday 7 February), KF senior fellow Matthew Kershaw said that ‘ICSs have the potential to be a real game changer’.

He continued: ‘They do have a real chance to change the way that health and social care work together for an area collectively, collaboratively and less in competition.’

Closer collaboration

Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) could be a ‘real game changer’, the King’s Fund (KF) has said.

Speaking at the KF event health and care explained yesterday (Tuesday 7 February), KF senior fellow Matthew Kershaw said that ‘ICSs have the potential to be a real game changer’.

He continued: ‘They do have a real chance to change the way that health and social care work together for an area collectively, collaboratively and less in competition.’

Closer collaboration

ICSs have evolved from sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) in a bid to ‘create closer and better collaboration’, according to NHS England.

At the moment, the NHS system faces financial and workforce challenges, a growing and changing demand and more expectations from the public.

Mr Kershaw argued that working harder wouldn’t solve these issues.

He added: ‘We have to work in a different way. Positive change can happen, patient outcomes can improve and demand can be moderated.

‘To deliver that positive change, you need a clear vision unified across the system and all parts of the system working together. It has to be an integrated system right across the piece led by clinicians and enabled by managers.

‘Integrated care is about organisations within an area working together to address the needs of their populations and improve their health.’

Mr Kershaw said that the way the Health and Social Care Act 2012 was set up ‘doesn’t help integration but create competition', separating providers and commissioners with two distinct regulators for each.

American model fear

Controversial Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs) will now be known as ICSs or Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs).

Mr Kershaw said that people fear ICSs because of the American model, which is based on insurance and privatisation.

‘The way it has been described to the public isn’t helpful. People get really nervous about the words accountable care, which bring things the NHS doesn’t want to be doing.

‘There has to be a change in some of the language used and we’ve got to make sure there is more attention paid to clinical engagement, the public and the patients we serve.’

At the moment, there are 10 ICSs in England, serving one in six people in the country, according to the NHS.    

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