Integrated care systems: will the most vulnerable lose out?
Designed to pool resources and encourage partnership working, could integrated care systems improve support for people with learning disabilities and/or autism?
What is billed as the biggest shake-up in the NHS for a decade in England is due to come into force next month.
Integrated care systems (ICSs) are designed to pool resources between health and local councils, involve voluntary and third sector organisations and encourage more partnership working.
In England 42 ICSs have been established. They will be made up of care boards and partnerships.
Integrated care systems will replace local commissioning groups
The idea was set out in the NHS Long-Term Plan of 2019 and was originally due to take place in April 2021, but was delayed. Now, with the passing of the Health and Care Act 2022, it is to be put on a statutory footing in July.
The move will lead to the abolition of local clinical commissioning groups.
So, if you work in England that is, what is your role in the new grand design and how will it improve the lives of people with learning disabilities and/or autism?
You may already be involved but, if not, it is something to be aware of because, as with most things, there are opportunities as well as challenges.
Nurses should get involved and protect the most vulnerable
In January 2021 the RCN responded to a consultation on the plans warning of the importance of establishing accountability for decision-making, ensuring there is the right skill mix and numbers of nurses to do the work, and concerns about levels of nursing leadership and governance representation.
RCN professional lead in learning disabilities Jonathan Beebee hopes that the changes might make patchy support for people with learning disabilities more consistent but argues nurses should get involved and protect the most vulnerable.
‘We are seeing increasing awareness of neurodiversity which is great but are people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) going to be ignored? It is important we get the voice of people with PMLD on those boards and partnerships. And it is important for nurses treating them to be involved,’ he said.
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