View from the leadership – August 2021

Last week marked another important milestone for the development of our health and care system. You may be aware that the recruitment of Chairs for the future Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) have now gone live across the country, in line with proposed legislative changes. The process is being driven nationally and the aim is for new Chairs to be in place across systems by mid-October. This represents a significant step on the formal road towards developing Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) as, following the appointments, systems will be able to then focus on agreeing the wider leadership and infrastructure of future ways of working.

While most systems are recruiting, some existing ICS independent Chairs have been appointed as designate Chairs of their future ICB. You will know that our current independent Chair, Bob Alexander, announced earlier this year that he would not be continue as Chair of our system and I would like to take the opportunity to formally thank Bob for his leadership and stewardship of our system. Bob arrived in Sussex at the end of 2017 during a time when our system was experiencing significant challenges across performance, finances and our partnership working. Since then, we have made huge strides and improvement and are now in a very strong position to take the next steps in our development.

The progress we have made as a system is summarised in Our Journey Together document, and our system Annual Report, both of which we published earlier this month. We also published Sussex 2025 – Our vision for a healthier future document which sets out the destination we want to reach as a system and represents our collective common purpose of improving the health and care of our populations. This vision was agreed across system partners last year, based on previous work to develop our strategic delivery plan in response to the NHS Long Term Plan, and its publication was delayed due to the pandemic.

These documents were published to ensure there was a common understanding of where we are currently as a system, following the publication of the Health and Care Bill that is going through the Parliamentary approval process and the Integrated Care Systems (ICS) Design Framework that was published by NHS England.

We are currently working through the details of both these key documents and have a structured programme of work taking place that will ensure we can shape and build the way we work across Sussex in the best possible way. As we continue to progress this work, we will continue to involve and engage with our system partners, public and stakeholders. We will be undertaking formal and informal discussions across the system that will inform, shape and influence the future of health and care. All partners will have an opportunity to input into this work and we will be carrying out public engagement from September to ensure the views and insight of our communities is heard.