'Working together to improve health and social care for all': Government White Paper for NHS and social care reform
The Health and Social Care Secretary, with the support of NHS England and health and care system leaders, set out new proposals to build on the successful response to the pandemic on 11 February 2021. The proposals will bring health and care services closer together to build back better by improving care and tackling health inequalities.
The measures set out in a government White Paper, will modernise the legal framework to make the health and care system fit for the future and put in place targeted improvements for the delivery of public health and social care. It will support local health and care systems to deliver higher quality care to their communities, in a way that is less legally bureaucratic, more accountable and more joined up, by bringing together the NHS, local government and partners together to tackle the needs of their communities as a whole.
The proposals build on the NHS’ recommendations for legislative change in the NHS Long Term Plan.
What is an Integrated Care System?
What does it mean for the Black Country and West Birmingham?
Under the proposals, there will be a single Integrated Care System for health and care partners locally which will be a statutory body. It’s important to note that there will be no statutory role in place until 2022. During this time we will be working together to get ready for any changes, whilst making sure that all colleagues are supported and valued for the skills and expertise they bring to any new way of working. Including a commitment to seek stability of employment for current staff.
A key responsibility for our system will be to support place-based joint working between the NHS, Local Government and other partners such as the voluntary and community sector. The White Paper proposes that frequently, place level commissioning within an integrated care system will align geographically to a local authority boundary, and the Better Care Fund (BCF) plan will provide a tool for agreeing priorities. We know that the boundaries for some ICSs, including our own will be reviewed due to the West Birmingham geography, no change is confirmed but these conversations are happening.
With this in mind I wanted to reconfirm a commitment we made last week, if changes are to be made affecting West Birmingham this will be shared as soon at that is known. Any change to ICS boundaries will not directly affect current NHS provision of services and any existing commitments (e.g. capital investments) will not be affected. It is our intention to continue to develop positive relationships between the Birmingham and Black Country systems to work together for the mutual benefit of both the people who live in West Birmingham and our staff who deliver the health and care services to them.
Over the next 12 months we will be working with partners across the Black Country and West Birmingham to develop our ICS to ensure we are ready to take on the statutory powers described in the white paper. This is of course subject to legislative change. We are committed to updating stakeholders on this work as it develops. View our stakeholder newsletters.