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An important next step towards achieving our vision for better health and care for all across Sussex is the development of our Integrated Care System (ICS). In April 2020, the Sussex Health and Care Partnership was awarded ICS status.

This allowed us to formalise the strong partnership and collaborative working we have built over the last few years and has allowed us to make tangible improvements to the health and care of the people we serve. This way of working has been particularly pivotal in how we have responded collectively as a system to the challenge of COVID-19.

new Health and Care Act which came into Law in April, sets out new legislative reforms that will give ICSs a statutory footing.

The Act follows the publication by NHS England and Improvement of the Integrated Care Systems (ICS) Design Framework that sets out the next level of detail regarding expectations for future health and care system working.

What changes are being made?

The changes set out in the Health and Care Act will come into effect from 1 July and aim to enable NHS organisations, local authorities, social care providers, Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise partners and other stakeholders with an interest in health and care to work together in a more formal way to achieve four key areas:

  • Improving outcomes in population health and healthcare
  • Addressing inequalities in outcomes, experience and access
  • Enhancing productivity and value for money
  • Supporting broader social and economic development

The changes will see two new statutory entities created that together will provide and support the infrastructure for partners to work together as an ICS and better enable us to achieve our vision.

The Integrated Care Partnership – to be known as the Sussex Health and Care Assembly – will be the statutory joint committee between the NHS and local government that comes together to formally agree the strategic direction for our system. The core purpose will be to facilitate joint action across organisations to improve the outcomes, equality of access and experience of health and care services for all people and communities across Sussex.

The Assembly will have a specific responsibility to develop an ‘integrated care strategy’ for its whole population using the best available evidence and data, covering health and social care, and addressing health inequalities and the wider determinants which drive these inequalities.

The Integrated Care Board – to be known as NHS Sussex – will become a new organisation that will agree the strategic priorities and resource allocation for all NHS organisations in Sussex. This will involve leading the improvement and integration of high-quality health and care services for all communities. NHS Sussex will take on the commissioning functions previously carried out by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

Developing partnership for our populations

Alongside the statutory changes being made, we are developing three health and care partnerships which are formed around the populations of West Sussex, Brighton and Hove and East Sussex. These are partnerships of NHS organisations, the local authority and wider partners who support the health and care of local communities.

The purpose of these partnerships is to enable greater joined-up thinking, knowledge and working across health and care organisations, to deliver local and system priorities that focus on the specific needs of individual populations and local communities.

The development of health and care partnerships were set out in a Government White Paper.

The partnerships vary according to the needs of the local population and the partners involved and they have been working together on ‘place-based’ plans that look to identify key priorities and approaches to aim for better health outcomes and a reduction in health inequalities. These plans include:

  • Strengthening partnership working to deliver improved health and care, better experience of services and support, prevention and early intervention, and responsive personalised care with people need it.
  • Supporting collaborative working with a broad range of partners and services that impact on social and economic wellbeing and the wider determinants of health, including housing teams and voluntary and community and social enterprise (VCSE) services.

Over time, the aim is for these partnerships to take on greater responsibility for health and care across the local populations.

NHS providers are working collaboratively across our ‘places’ to ensure services work in a joined-up way to meet the needs of the local populations.

At a very local level, we are continuing to support the development of Primary Care Networks (PCNs). These are groups of GP practices working together with community and mental health services, and the VCSE, to better support the wide-ranging health and care needs of communities. PCNs begun working together over the last few years and have been pivotal in the successful delivery of the COVID vaccination programme.

Please see more details about PCNs.