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Better, more joined-up care in Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Patients in Herefordshire and Worcestershire will have better, more joined up care following the announcement that Herefordshire and Worcestershire will become an Integrated Care System (ICS) next month.

NHS England today confirmed that Herefordshire and Worcestershire will become an ICS from 1 April 2021, in line with expectations set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. This is the culmination of many years of effort to build partnership working across the NHS, local authorities, the third sector and patient groups. The Government has subsequently proposed a White Paper that will be considered by Parliament and recommends that Integrated Care Systems become statutory NHS bodies in April 2022, replacing Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

Integrated Care Systems bring greater collaboration to all parts of the health and care system including GPs, hospitals, community care and social care, as well as physical and mental health services, county and district councils and the voluntary sector. People will find it easier to access services, see more joined up care delivery and staff should find it easier to work with colleagues from other organisations.

Sir David Nicholson, Chair of Herefordshire and Worcestershire ICS, said: “I’m delighted that we now have approval to become designated as an ICS. It has taken a collective effort from the leaders and staff of our local authorities, NHS organisations, the voluntary sector and patient representatives to reach this point.

“Working together we will be better able to tackle health inequality, join up the care for those with multiple conditions, improve support for people with life-long illness and support children to lead healthy lives.”

Since the emergence of Covid-19, health and care organisations across Herefordshire and Worcestershire have been working even more closely together. For example, the vaccination programme has been a combination of efforts from the various parts of the local health and care system, many more GP and out-patient appointments have been delivered via video link with patients, while some tests previously done in hospital are now carried out by GPs saving patients journeys and reducing the risk to patients and staff of transmitting the disease.

Simon Trickett, Chief Executive of Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG and ICS, added: “We’ve seen the very best of the NHS and partners working together during this pandemic, both in terms of how we’ve been able to deal with the numbers of seriously ill patients requiring hospital treatment as well as how everyone has come together to already deliver 350,000 Covid-19 vaccinations to residents. The establishment of an ICS across Herefordshire and Worcestershire now allows us to ensure that this approach to partnership working lasts beyond the current pandemic.

“We believe that we have a great foundation to make the transition to an ICS as smooth as it can be for our system, and most importantly for the population that we serve.”

More information about ICS's is available here.