NCF launching ICS resources

April 29, 2022

The National Care Forum (NCF) is launching dedicated resources to help social care providers prepare for Integrated Care Systems (ICS).

In July 2022, ICS will be given a statutory underpinning across England, after the Health and Care Bill received Royal Assent by Her Majesty The Queen yesterday. This partnership model will bring together providers and commissioners of NHS services across a specific geographical area with local authorities and other local partners, such as social care and housing, to collectively plan health and care services.

It is a fundamental shift in the way the health and social care system is organised in England – moving away from competition and organisation autonomy to collaboration between health and care organisations to integrate services, reduce health inequalities and improve population health and wellbeing.

NCF has partnered with the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust (HACT) to bring together a dedicated learning and development programme during June and July to support the sector in working with ICS. The programme aims to enable delegates to engage in long-term partnerships that transform the delivery of health and care, while simultaneously resulting in better integration between social care provider organisations and health. The training will help social care providers:

  • Understand more about ICS.
  • Strengthen their understanding of how to engage with local ICS.
  • Build awareness of the competencies needed to deliver within ICS.
  • Identify partnering opportunities and build credibility.

A further ICS resource the NCF is launching comprises a dedicated and facilitated discussion with NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI), Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and social care providers as part of a listening exercise on Monday 9th May to understand the challenges and successes of engaging with ICS. The session will aim to achieve agreement to coproduce a model for engagement with the social care provider sector and to think about where efforts would be most effectively focused. This builds on the collaboration between NCF, NHSEI and DHSC over the last few months to support ICS engagement with the social care sector.

An online ‘one stop shop’ on the NCF website is another resource the NCF is launching that offers a simple overview to ICS, interactive maps to find out which ICS operate in local areas, key messages to help ICS understand how social care is central to improving health and care for local populations and case studies to showcase how engagement can work on the ground to make a difference for people using health and care services.

Additional resources will continue to be added in the coming weeks and months, the NCF reports.

Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of the National Care Forum, said, 'The introduction of Integrated Care Systems is a major change to the health and social care system in England and as such it is imperative that the social care sector fully understands and engages with the process of transition to this new model of partnership working. We have created these resources to support our colleagues from across the sector to strengthen their understanding, upskill their competencies and build their confidence in identifying partnering opportunities that integrate health and care services and improves peoples’ health and wellbeing.

'The resources are available to all and we encourage social care providers to fully engage with them as they prepare for the go live date of ICS in July. The training programme is proving popular and we want to see a broad representation of providers involved in these sessions to make sure the social care takes its rightful place as an equal partner in the working of these partnerships.'

If you would like to find out more about the ICS resources the NCF is launching or to attend the training sessions, visit the NCF website.

In other news, Government policies on discharging untested patients from hospital to care homes in England at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have been ruled unlawful by the High Court.

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