This week the Queen approved the Health and Care Bill, which means it has now become the Health and Care Act, the most significant health law in the last 10 years.
It is this Act that is driving the changes we are preparing for in north east London as our CCG transitions to a new organisation, an integrated care board which will be called NHS North East London, and the formalisation of our existing North East London Health and Care Partnership to be an Integrated Care System (ICS). Across health and care we have long worked in partnership across a number of areas and this was cemented further during the pandemic. This gives us solid foundations to continue to implement changes to achieve our agreed ambition as a partnership that we will work with and for all the people of North East London to create meaningful improvements in health, wellbeing and equity.
The Act is an important step on the journey towards establishing ICSs on a statutory footing, which will take place on 1 July 2022. This next phase of system development continues and builds on the evolution of local partnerships and collaborative ways of working over several years, with the first ICSs created in 2018, emerging from Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships. The vision for greater integration was laid out in the Five Year Forward View and further cemented by the NHS Long Term Plan in 2019 while also incorporating valuable lessons learnt from the pandemic. It gives the NHS and our partners greater flexibility to deliver joined-up care to the increasing numbers of people who rely on multiple different services. We will move away from thinking in terms of commissioners and providers to thinking about whole systems – whether this is locally at ‘place or borough’ level or across north east London, or as provider collaboratives.
The aims of the Act are to set up systems and structures to:
- Reform how health and adult social care work together.
- Tackle long waiting lists built up during the pandemic.
- Address some of the long-term challenges faced by the country including a growing and ageing population, chronic conditions and inequalities in health outcomes.
To deliver this we will continue to focus on working towards our four joint action areas, agreed across North East London Health and Care Partnership and are developing a plan which will outline how we will redesign the way we work so that we are able to integrate the way we provide care and services. These developing plans will also outline how we use additional investment to level up so that all areas are able to invest systematically in preventative and good quality local care services.
This is an exciting time for north east London as we formalise our partnerships and plans to continue to support our population of over two million people to live healthier, happier lives. We are following national guidance to prepare for these changes and are involving our staff, partners and communities in developing our new organisation and ways of working.
For more information about the new NHS structures in north east London, please see our website.