Move to integrate primary and social care

The government is making changes to existing secondary legislation to make it easier for the first integrated care providers (ICPs) to be set up.

ICPs are designed to:

  • Bring care services together through a single contract
  • Deliver more care in the community and patients’ homes.

In practical terms, setting up ICPs will allow primary medical services to be run through the same contract as other health and care services such as social care for the first time.

At the moment it is complicated for different NHS organisations to deliver integrated care since each organisation holds its own independent contract with commissioners.

The NHS Long Term Plan confirmed that NHS England would make the ICP contract available for use from 2019. The contract is expected to be held by statutory providers, such as NHS foundation trusts.

Before the first contracts are awarded, proposals will be scrutinised through the integrated support and assurance process.

“For patients it should mean fewer trips to hospital and more care in the community, and allow health and care services to work together seamlessly with a greater focus on preventative, proactive and coordinated care,” said health minister Stephen Hammond.

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