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Independent and voluntary sectors most excluded from local integrated care systems

Date of publication: 3rd Dec 2018

Categories: Latest news

Independent and voluntary sector providers are viewed as the least likely to be engaged in the work of local integrated health and care systems (ICSs) according to a new report from the NHS Confederation, putting at risk the aim of properly joining up local services for patients.

The Confederation’s report, “Letting local systems lead”, surveyed senior leaders from across the health system and found that:

  • More than two thirds agreed that NHS providers (72%) and commissioners (81%) are fully engaged in the work of their local Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) or ICS.
  • However fewer than one third (32%) agreed that  independent and voluntary sector providers were fully engaged.  A similar proportion felt primary and social care providers were fully engaged with these new integrated models of care.

These findings come ahead of the forthcoming NHS long-term plan expected later this month, with the Confederation calling on the Government to focus on tackling the barriers to local system working, including improving the way that the NHS works with partners from the independent, voluntary and social enterprise sectors.

Responding to the findings David Hare, Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) said:

“This latest report from the NHS Confederation is a stark reminder that, while the ambition to integrate care is absolutely the right one, the benefits for patients’ risk getting lost if the only people “around the table” are public sector providers.

“International experience tells us that the way to develop more integrated and person-centred healthcare involves skilfully managing the interactions of a wide range of players in a health system – including from the public, private, voluntary and social enterprise sectors.

“Unless there is meaningful partnership working between all parts of the health and care system, the NHS risks stifling potential solutions which could transform patient care, locking out existing system partners who are key to genuine care coordination for patients and new system partners who can bring solutions to longstanding problems.”