Health and care leaders in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) have welcomed news that the local Healthier Together partnership of NHS organisations, councils, GPs and others, has achieved ‘Integrated Care System’ (ICS) status.
The achievement was confirmed by NHS England & Improvement this week, in recognition of the work by local health and care organisations, and their staff, to join up health and care provision to better meet local people’s needs.
ICS status confirms that local health and care partners share a common vision to improve local health and care services for their population, taking collective responsibility for managing resources, delivering services, and improving the health of the population they serve.
All health and care systems in the country are expected to achieve ICS status by April 2021, in line with NHS England’s national Long Term Plan.
Julia Ross and Robert Woolley, Chief Executives at UHBW and BNSSG CCG, and executive co-leads of Healthier Together, said: “We are delighted to have achieved official Integrated Care System status in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
“Over the last few years, the 10 organisations in our Healthier Together partnership – including NHS organisations and Local Authorities – have been working together to join services up around people’s individual needs, and break down the barriers between primary, secondary, mental health and social care.
“This is an exciting opportunity to build on what we have done so far, and continue to improve services and experience for everyone in our area. It is also a testament to the skill and dedication of our fantastic health and care workforce, whose commitment to collaboration has shone through during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are looking forward to working with local people, health and care staff, communities, voluntary groups and others as we continue on our journey to ensure sustainable, high-quality care for everyone in BNSSG.”
The Healthier Together partnership was established in 2016 by local NHS Trusts, the area’s three councils, ambulance services, the Clinical Commissioning Group and community healthcare providers.
Recent examples of collaborative working introduced by the partnership that have provided real benefit to local people, include:
- The launch of an integrated Urgent Care Service bringing together NHS 111 with the GP out-of-hours service to provide round-the-clock clinical advice for people needing urgent care
- Transformation of local arrangements for hospital discharge, bringing together the NHS, social care services and the voluntary sector to substantially reduce delays for people waiting for discharge from hospital
- Enhanced data sharing arrangements between NHS and social care services, helping health and care professionals to work more closely together to support individuals who have contact with multiple services
- The introduction, during the pandemic, of comprehensive health and care support to local care homes, with a 24/7 telephone line for care home staff to help prevent avoidable hospital admissions.
Healthier Together partners will now begin a period of engagement with local health and care leaders and elected representatives, to develop plans as they move forward as an ICS.
Further information about the partnership’s work, including the option to sign up for a regular newsletter, is available at https://bnssghealthiertogether.org.uk/