The final 13 sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) will become formally designated integrated care systems (ICSs) from 1 April, NHS England has confirmed.
This brings the total number of ICSs to 42, achieving the NHS Long Term Plan’s target of rolling out the organisations across England by April this year.
It comes after the Government published a white paper for a new Health and Care bill last month (11 February), which set out plans to place ICSs on a statutory footing.
Under the proposals, which are due to be implemented from 2022, CCGs will become part of the organisations, with ICSs to take on their ‘allocative function’.
According to NHS England, the geographical boundaries for the individual systems may evolve during 2021/22 to ‘enable co-terminosity between the NHS and local government’.
But it added that the structures will enable health and care organisations to ‘join forces and apply their collective strength to addressing their residents’ biggest health challenges’.
Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: ‘Partnership working has been at the heart of the NHS’s remarkable response to the coronavirus pandemic and NHS vaccination programme.
‘We have seen what the NHS pulling together can do in the most testing period in the health service’s history. The establishment of ICSs across the country will help to ensure that agile approach and can-do attitude endures beyond the pandemic.’
The 13 new ICS areas
- Cambridge & Peterborough
- Mid and South Essex
- The Black Country and West Birmingham
- Herefordshire & Worcestershire
- Coventry and Warwickshire
- Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland
- Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin
- Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
- Cheshire and Merseyside
- Kent and Medway
Amanda Pritchard, chief operating officer for NHS England and Improvement said the milestone was a ‘great achievement’ and showed ‘the strength of system collaboration’.
She added: ‘The ICSs have proven their value over the past year and will play an increasingly important role in the restoration, recovery and transformation of services for the benefit of patients and citizens.’
Last month, NHS England also confirmed that another nine CCG mergers have been ‘conditionally approved’ to go ahead on 1 April, which if fully authorised will reduce the total number of CCGs in England from 135 to 106.