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ICS red-tape could be cut under new review

ICS red-tape could be cut under new review
By Jess Hacker
18 November 2022

The independent review into ICSs will consider reducing the number of national targets imposed on systems to cut through red-tape, the DHSC has announced.

This would give systems greater autonomy to refocus time and resources on local challenges and priorities.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced he had appointed former Labour health secretary Patricia Hewitt to lead the review yesterday (17 November) in his autumn budget.

It was announced that the review would explore how to make sure the local NHS operates ‘efficiently with appropriate autonomy and accountability’. It will feature input from ‘all 42 ICSs’.

The DHSC has now confirmed this review will also assess systems’ relationships with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and its oversight of the local NHS bodies.

It is currently not clear how the CQC will be expected to regulate systems.

The review will also look at how best to monitor local performance and targets set, and how to ensure ICSs are held robustly to account.

Ms Hewitt, who is now chair of Norfolk and Waveney ICS, said: ‘By bringing together local government, the NHS and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, ICSs provide the biggest opportunity in a generation to improve health outcomes, transform health and care services and reduce health inequalities.’

She added: ‘This review will focus on how national policy and regulation can most effectively support and enable local systems to solve problems locally. It will build on the welcome work already done by NHS England to develop a new operating model.’

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: ‘Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach dictated from a ministerial office, local leaders are best placed to make decisions about their local populations and I want to empower them to find innovative solutions to tackle problems and improve care for patients.

‘Fewer top-down national targets and greater transparency will help us deliver this aim and I am grateful to Patricia Hewitt for agreeing to lead this vital review to help us get this right. I look forward to reviewing her findings.’

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