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NHS England tasks GP with reviewing ‘next steps’ for PCNs within ICSs


By Caitlin Tilley
11 November 2021

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NHS England has asked a GP ICS lead to look at the ‘next steps’ for how PCNs will work in integrated care systems (ICSs).

It today announced that its chief executive Amanda Pritchard has asked Dr Claire Fuller, GP and senior responsible officer of Surrey Heartlands ICS, to set out ‘the most promising next steps’ for how services including primary care ‘should develop’ within ICSs.

Dr Fuller will present these ‘next steps’ by March 2022, ahead of ICSs becoming statutory organisations the following month.

NHS England said: ‘The NHS will set out the next steps for how primary care networks will work with partners across newly formed integrated care systems to meet the health needs of people in their local areas.’

It added that Dr Fuller has been asked to set out how ICSs can ‘accelerate’ the implementation of ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan related to primary care, out of hospital care and prevention, as well as encouraging better-integrated primary, community and social care services locally.

Her work will ‘take a view on how services should develop, as well as setting up the most promising next steps in the short-term’, it said.

She has been asked to examine how PCNs can assist ICSs, of which there are 42 across England, by enabling local partners to jointly improve care and tackle health inequalities, it added.

NHS England said ICSs would play a ‘pivotal role’ to focus on the needs of the local communities and help the NHS collaborate with ‘wider partners to take collective responsibility for people’s health and wellbeing’.

Dr Fuller said: ‘This is about working collectively to support our most vulnerable citizens and to reduce the inequalities in health we know exist for many communities.’

Ms Pritchard said she is ‘delighted’ Dr Claire Fuller will be undertaking the work, as ‘the examples seen in her local area show how partnership working particularly between GP practices and wider partners can deliver better experiences for patients’.

Speaking at the NHS Confederation ICS conference earlier today, health secretary Sajid Javid said ‘we are at an inflection point for our ICSs’ and that ICSs are ‘the right way forward’.

It comes as LMCs will this month debate GP representation on ICS boards at the BMA’s annual LMC conference for England.

In June, NHS England guidance revealed that just one GP will be required to be appointed to the boards of the ICSs which are set to replace CCGs as commissioners of health services.

This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.

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