The National Health Service (NHS) in England plans for the entire country to be covered by integrated care systems (ICSs) by April 2021. The aims of these local health and care partnerships are broad and include improving disease prevention and population health while maintaining NHS financial sustainability. Yet, the evidence for more integrated care leading to better disease prevention is weak.
Although nearly all of the 2016 sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) plans included a prevention or population health strategy, the content varied widely, often lacked detail, and had little on population-level interventions affecting the social determinants of health.
The 2019 STP and ICS 5-year strategic plans, and the roll out of ICSs across England by April 2021, provide an opportunity for local health and care services to work together more effectively to prevent disease and improve population health. In light of limited evidence on the relationship between integrated care and disease prevention, we describe how a more coordinated approach to tackling the social determinants of health across government could help.