An assessment of integrated care systems' progress in 2021/22, based on the views of system leaders across England
Though they have been in operation for several years in many parts of the country, integrated care systems (ICSs) across England are set to become new statutory bodies from July 2022. This will represent a significant shift in how health and care services are planned and delivered – away from the model of fragmentation and competition followed in previous decades (and reinforced through the Health and Social Care Act 2012), and towards one of collaboration between services.
“ICSs are a revolution in the mindset, not just a reorganisation of services.” A system leader
As we look ahead to July, this report seeks to assess the progress made so far. It presents the views of system leaders in autumn 2021, both on where they feel they have progressed well and where improvements are needed. It also assesses the prospect of further progression over the coming years, outlining where system leaders believe there are opportunities and identifying key barriers to the success of systems in future.
Recommendations are made throughout the report. While some are directed to national decision makers (NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care), others are directed to system leaders themselves. For many integrated care board chairs and designate chief executives, and integrated care partnership chairs now in place – some of whom are taking on system-level positions for the first time – the following sections will be useful reading for understanding the challenges ICSs have faced so far and informing future planning. We look forward to engagements with all system leaders to support them in establishing their systems and addressing short-, medium- and long-term priorities