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Government responds to Hewitt Review and H&SC Committee’s ICS Inquiry

By June 23, 2023No Comments

The Government has published their response to two reports examining the newly created integrated care systems by pledging a number of measures to help support their development.

The Hewitt Review, led by former Labour Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt, was an independent review of integrated care systems commissioned in November 2022 and concluded that ICSs should be given more autonomy to tackle patient ill health and productivity.

The other report, set up by the Health and Social Care Committee, reviewed how Integrated Care Systems intended to deliver joined up health and care services to meet the needs of their local populations.

The Government has committed to a number of measures to support ICSs in response to the 2 key reports.

In its response, the Department of Health and Social Care has outlined the steps it will take working with NHS England and local health and care systems, to support learning and improvement and join up care for patients and communities. As part of this the department will review and streamline national targets to ensure that systems are able to focus on improving health for their populations.

In line with the recommendations of the reviews, the Government has also committed to:

  • continue supporting local systems to adapt to NHS England’s new operating framework, which lays out the new roles NHS England, ICSs and NHS providers will play in the wider health and care system
  • work with NHS England, local authorities and local health and care services to develop better information around funding for prevention services to inform future investment decisions
  • provide greater certainty over budgets for local health and care systems, by working to ensure reporting for small in-year funding pots is proportionate, freeing up time for planning and delivery of health and care to local people

However, the Government has not committed to spending on prevention, noting that they do not agree with imposing a national expectation of an essentially arbitrary shift in spending.

The actions from the Government’s response will support health and care systems to be more effective, making them a vital tool for improving the speed at which people will receive care in their local areas and in some cases reducing their need to be placed on an NHS waiting list where community support is available.

Government will be looking to take these commitments forward over the coming months, working with national partners and systems.

Minister for Care, Helen Whately, said: ‘Integrated care systems are already making a difference by bringing together local NHS organisations along with social care and the voluntary sector. We know that joined up care benefits patients and that’s exactly what ICSs are there to provide.

‘We have listened to the reports and the actions we’re going to take, like reviewing how we reduce admin burdens on local systems, will build on the excellent work that ICSs are already doing.’

The Government’s combined response to both reports can be read in full here.

Dawn