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Improvement measures outside national targets called for

Improvement measures outside national targets called for

By Jess Hacker
14 December 2022

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ICBs have been asked to name mechanisms to improve performance outside of more national targets, as part of the ongoing review into ICS efficiency.

Headed by former Labour health secretary Patricia Hewitt, the independent review has this week launched a call for evidence from organisation across the health sector.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the review would be taking place during his autumn budget last month, with the DHSC confirming it would consider cutting red-tape by reducing the number of national targets imposed on ICSs.

The review has now asked health professionals to share ‘what mechanisms outside of national targets’ could be used to improve how ICSs work, suggesting that peer reviews could work as an alternative.

It also asked for health leaders’ to recommend which issue should be covered by a national target and which should be left for systems to decide for themselves.

Other key lines of questioning include:

  • Identifying where policy frameworks and support mechanisms have made it difficult for ICSs to achieve their goals
  • How the Care Quality Commission (CQC) should monitor ICS performance
  • How data collection from ICSs should be streamlined.

The open consultation document said: ‘We recognise that there is significant variation in maturity, capability and performance between different systems and partner organisations, including trusts.

‘This will require an appropriate balance between autonomy, support, regulation and intervention. We are keen to explore whether there are any principles we can identify to help set that balance.’

Ms Hewitt had last month given evidence to the Committee’s first evidence hearing on the accountability and autonomy of ICSs.

In a second hearing, last week, health leaders decried the loss of clinical leadership in the new NHS system brought about by the abolition of CCGs.

The review will report to health secretary, Steve Barclay, with interim findings by this Friday, a first draft by 31 January 2023 and a final report by no later than 15 March 2023, the DHSC stated earlier this month.

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