New way of working for health and care to benefit our populations

A new way of working across health and care in Sussex will bring long term benefits to local people and support the ongoing management of the Covid-19 crisis.

NHS England and Improvement have announced that the Sussex Health and Care Partnership (SHCP), which is made up of all health and care organisations across the county, has successfully met the criteria to become an Integrated Care System (ICS).

The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, set the target for all areas of the country to become an ICS by April 2021. An ICS is a way of working across health and care organisations that allows them to work closer together to take collective responsibility of the health and wellbeing of populations across large areas.

This new way of working will be based on the priorities and outcomes that matter to local communities and will allow all organisations to work together towards the same plan to improve health and wellbeing. This will help local people to stay healthy for longer, to receive more support and treatment at home and, if they do get ill, to ensure they get the right care in the right place at the right time. Health and care organisations working as an ICS will not affect or replace their existing statutory responsibility and accountability.

Over the last few years, health and care organisations across Sussex have increasingly worked together as the SHCP to make sure the experience of local people using services is more joined-up and better suits their individual needs.

The collaborative way of working has been beneficial in the way health and care organisations  across Sussex have responded to the Covid-19 crisis, with partners working together as part of the ongoing emergency to ensure our populations get the care they need.

Bob Alexander, Independent Chair of the Sussex Health and Care Partnership, said: “Achieving ICS status reflects the hard work and significant progress that has been made across our system over the last few years. Working together across partners, we have been able to improve the quality of care, bring greater integrated ways of working, stabilise the financial position, commission services in a more effective and consistent way, improve public engagement and develop plans at system and local levels across partners.

“This is testament to the commitment from all partners to working together to improve the health and care for our populations and recognition and praise should be given to all those who have worked so hard to get us to this point.”

Adam Doyle, Senior Responsible Officer for the Sussex Health and Care Partnership, said: “While we have received the news within the context of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, which is clearly the priority focus for us all at the time, it is important that we recognise the hard work that has gone into getting us to this point and how it will benefit our system in the future.

“We are currently seeing tangible benefits from the collaborative working we have developed over the years in the way our system has responded to the current emergency. All partners are working closely together to ensure our populations get the care they need at this time and the close relationships and joined-up ways of working we have built has played a key role in helping us manage what is an extremely difficult situation in the best possible way.

“As we look to the long term, we now have the ability as an ICS to build on the large amounts of work we have done, and continue to do, to make sure that our local residents get the right care they need, in the right place, at the right time, and that our staff and organisations are supported and work in the best possible way.”