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MPs launch inquiry into ICS accountability


By Jess Hacker
7 July 2022

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The Health and Social Care Committee has launched a new inquiry into Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), days after the bodies gained statutory footing.

The inquiry will consider how ICSs will deliver joined-up health and care services to meet the needs of local populations.

MPs will also assess how ICSs will be able to operate with the flexibility and autonomy needed to tackle health inequalities within their population: a core aim of the organisations.

They will also determine whether the use of central targets is consistent with local autonomy.

It comes a week after Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) – the facet of the ICS which will hold and allocate the budget – became statutory bodies on 1 July, marking the formal end of CCGs.

Jeremy Hunt, chair of the Committee, said: ‘New local health partnerships should enable services to be developed to meet the needs of the people they serve and crucially to help prevent ill-health through programmes that promote wellbeing.

‘Local flexibility will be the key to success with decisions based on local need and not centrally set targets. We’ll be assessing whether this necessary autonomy might be compromised by the drive to meet government targets.

‘The performance of individual Integrated Care Systems will be measured with CQC ratings. We’re grateful that the government adopted this Committee’s recommendation to ensure accountability with this measure.’

Healthcare Leader this week launched a major retrospective into the successes and failures of CCGs, in light of the NHS’ massive restructure – CCGs: A post-mortem.

It found that out-going clinical leaders have expressed  misgivings about how the NHS is being run and a loss of clinical leadership.

The latest shift in NHS architecture has been the root of some controversy within primary care, with some bodies claiming the demise of CCGs will weaken the GP voice.

And the BMA this week voted in favour of pushing for LMCs to be represented on, and involved in, clinical decision making on ICBs.

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