Thank you for contacting me about Integrated Care Systems (ICS).
Promoting integrated care is a priority for the Government and helping to develop Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) is a crucial part of this work.
I know that, through their work to develop ICSs, the Department of Health and Social Care has sought to allow local areas to develop models that work effectively for them. This will help to promote close working between health and care organisations, NHS bodies and local authorities to support effective local service integration. It builds on the work outlined by the NHS Long Term Plan to join up local health and care around people's needs, through greater collaboration. Since the establishment of ICSs across England, I firmly believe that they have facilitated this collaboration and coordinated services to make real, practical improvements to people's lives.
As we build back better from this pandemic, it is right and necessary that our health and care services are at the forefront. The pandemic underlined not only the dedication and skill of those in this sector, but also the necessity of a broader, more integrated health and care system. I welcome the intention to develop more joined up, integrated care between the NHS, Local Government and other partners including the voluntary and community sector, which will be vital in tackling the factors that affect the long-term sustainability of patient services. I understand that these reforms will also include proper accountability mechanisms, and give patients and the public the confidence that they are receiving the best care from their healthcare system.
It is completely wrong to suggest that ICSs are being used to support privatisation, or cuts to NHS funding. The NHS will always be free at the point of use, and thee reforms are intended to improve the quality of NHS services and outcomes for patients.
I will certainly monitor this issue closely, including its implementation across South Devon. Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.