View from the Leadership: A message from Bob Alexander

Bob Alexander is the Independent Chair of the Sussex Health and Care Partnership

The paper on the future of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) that was discussed at the recent NHS England and Improvement board meeting has significant implications for all systems across the country.

After much discussion over the last few years on the development of ICSs, the paper gives clarity on the options being considered nationally for their future position. A period of engagement is now taking place to gain feedback about the options, with the expectation that this will then lead to legislative change.

There will naturally be differing views across our system partners, and it is important these are discussed thoroughly, which this is something we intend to do over the weeks ahead. We will be responding as an ICS following this period of engagement and partners will also want to respond individually.

While we work through what the paper means for our system, it is important for us to recognise that the work we have done over the last few years puts us in a strong position to do so.

Achieving ICS status last April, the work of developing our collaboratives and the continued focus on developing our places aligns with the direction of travel. This has been built on strong partnership working and an improvement journey that has seen us stabilise our financial position, improve the quality of services and build good relationships and collaborative ways of working which have been successfully stress-tested as we continue to respond to COVID-19.

We will now be starting our collective conversation around the next phase of our development as a system and will ensure all partners are able to contribute.