In the report’s foreword, the former health secretary thanked the County Councils Network’s input, and the network’s chairman Cllr Tim Oliver took part in the review in his capacity as chair of the Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care Board.
Many of the recommendations CCN put forward were key conclusions from the network’s November 2022 report with IMPOWER, which assessed how fledging ICS were working, less than a year after their formal introduction.
Below, the County Councils Network responds:
Cllr Martin Tett, County Councils Network Adult Social Care Spokesperson, said:
“This review comes at an important time to assess how well embryonic interested care systems (ICS) were performing a year after their formal introduction, and I am pleased the County Councils Network’s (CCN) extensive engagement with the review is acknowledged within the report. Last year CCN raised concerns ICS had too much of a focus on acute healthcare rather than preventative and population health.
“Therefore, the review’s recommendation that ICS have a greater focus on prevention is something CCN has called for, and it is vital this report’s proposal for at least a 1% shift in NHS budgets to ICS over the next five years is delivered by government, in recognition that health and care are two sides of the same coin. We also are pleased the review recognised that children’s social care is linked to both adult care and the wider health system which is something CCN has consistently highlighted in the course of the development of ICSs.
“Whilst we support the principle of greater local autonomy, it is crucial that local government and their wider communities have a strong and accountable voice within integrated care systems to ensure the already diverse ways that ICSs are developing locally does not end up creating a postcode lottery.
“Finally, we welcome calls for a social workforce strategy, and this should be linked to ongoing workforce reforms in adult social care. With the social care vacancy rate in county areas at 9.5% we must be careful not to further overburden staff and any strategy must adequately address pay and conditions within social care to ensure they are commensurate with those in the NHS to ensure these plans work effectively.”