NHS Confederation calls for legislation to embed partnership working across health and care

Joint working across health and care should be embedded in law and encouraged through a new statutory duty for all providers, commissioners and other partners in local systems, according to a new report from the NHS Confederation, of which NHS Clinical Commissioners is part.

With the Government expected to introduce new primary legislation affecting the NHS over the coming year, NHS leaders have set out the factors they believe should be central to a new framework for integrated care systems (ICSs)They believe Covid-19 has demonstrated the importance of organisations from across the NHS, local government and community and voluntary organisations working collaboratively for the good of their local communities. 

The report, The Future of Integrated Care in England, is the result of six months of engagement across its membership in England – including NHSCC members – and has revealed broad support for giving ICSs statutory footing in law.  This must permanently embed system working across the wide range of organisations involved in health and care and recognise the key role that local government, independent and charitable providers, voluntary sector organisations and community representatives play in systems alongside NHS services.  

The report was co-written by NHSCC’s assistant director of policy, Julie Das-Thompson, and NHSCC members have been involved in the development of the report’s recommendations, particularly around how systems should evolve to deliver the objectives of ICSs where our work is referenced.

Responding to the report’s publication, Louise Patten, chief executive of NHS Clinical Commissioners, said:

NHSCC has been delighted to be part of this important work alongside our colleagues at the NHS Confederation. We are grateful to our CCG members who have taken the time to contribute to the development of this report, which collectively represents many of the organisations that will be vital to integrated care in the future.  

“The response to the pandemic has created stronger local collaboration and partnerships between providers, commissioners and local authorities at place; any legislative change must enable this to continue. 

“There is much to do over the next year to support our members with the transition to ICSs; we shall continue to ensure that the expert voice of our members is heard at the highest levels to make sure that legislation is effective.”

20 November 2020