February 8, 2023

Integrated Care Systems: What you need to know

Table of contents

On the 1st July 2022, NHS England and the Health and Care Act established 42 Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) across England. This article looks at what ICSs are, why this organisational shift happened and how domiciliary care businesses can benefit.

What are Integrated Care Systems (ICSs)?

An ICSs is a group of organisations from one area of England - for example, West Yorkshire - who have partnered up with each other to improve the social care services in their location. For the full list of ICSs, check out this page on the Digital Social Care website.

Each individual ICS is made up of the following partnerships and organisations: a Local authority (i.e the local county council); an Integrated care partnership (ICP) made up of providers and stakeholders directly concerned with delivering social care services in that location; an Integrated care board (ICB) who manage the co-ordination and allocation of budget; Place-based partnerships made up of local community and voluntary groups, residents, care professionals and representatives; and finally Provider collaboratives - groups of providers, just like your homecare business - that have come together to make better connections and provide better outcomes for those in their care.

What is the purpose of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs)?

The ICSs were created in order to bring disparate local organisations together to share resources and improve healthcare services across their whole region.

Their key purposes are listed as… bettering care recipient outcomes across their area; tackling inequalities related to accessing high-quality healthcare; improving the systems that social care businesses use to help them easily maintain standards; and helping the NHS support the whole country’s social care development.

Why are Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) needed?

Previously, it was up to individual organisations and businesses to manage health and social care delivery in their immediate area. This meant that many smaller social care businesses got left behind, as they were unable to access resources or data that would help them manage or improve their services - and that many large organisations were left unchecked as there was no-one to hold them accountable to high standards.

ISCs were established in 2022 to help bridge the gap between small, medium sized and large providers - and help everyone within a local region get access to the tools, support and representation they needed to provide the best care possible to their care recipients. Part of this push towards better care delivery involves the uplifting of care businesses with more efficient, easy-to-use digital tools to help them connect and grow.

What are the main Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) initiatives?

With each ICS representing a different location and being made up of different organisations, there are slight variations between what each is looking to prioritise and achieve in their area. However, all of them have the following goals and initiatives in common:

  • Updating, installing and building infrastructure to improve access to high speed connectivity and devices for care providers
  • Championing and rolling out fall prevention technologies that can reduce the frequency and severity of hospital admissions
  • Advocating for the adoption of Digital Social Care Records (DSCR) to ensure data is captured at the point of care and can be shared between care settings

What is the difference between an ICP and an ICS?

ICP stands for Integrated Care Provider. An ICP is a contracted agreement made between one authority and a number of different social care providers, allotting all the providers care delivery for a set group of people within an agreed budget.

ICS stands for Integrated Care System. An ICS is a group of organisations that includes local authorities and industry bodies, along with social care providers, that have joined together to improve and support healthcare services in their local region.

What is the criteria for receiving funding from ICSs?

Funding is available for domiciliary care businesses through their local Integrated Care Systems (ICSs).

Domiciliary care businesses can apply to access the fund directly through their local ICS portal, on the digitalsocialcare.co.uk website. Here is a link to the main fund application hub - click through to your local ICS to find out how to apply.

If you’re successful, you’ll then work in close partnership with your local ICS to boost your domiciliary care business’ digital adoption.

Find out more about what they are looking for here.

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