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Health and Care Reforms are an Opportunity for Homelessness Organisations

Blog posted by: Sue Christoforou, Friday, 05 November 2021.

People at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness are far more likely to have significantly and chronically compromised health. The latest health service reforms – including the appointment of inequalities leads and creation of new partnership and governance structures – give members a prime opportunity to build on relationships and influence local health strategies to ensure people experiencing homelessness receive the timely healthcare that they need and deserve.

A key element of the reforms is, via the Health and Care Bill, giving legal basis to integrated care systems (ICSs), which have been developing for several years. ICSs are place-based collaborative partnerships bringing together providers and commissioners of healthcare services across a defined geographical area. They collectively plan health and care services to meet the needs of their local population. The changes are also bringing with them a whole set of new abbreviations that we will need to get used to! 

The formalisation of ICSs will mean: 

  • Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which have been the primary budget holders for NHS services since 2013, are being abolished and replaced with Integrated Care Boards (ICBs). These will be the new main local planning and funding body for NHS services. Each ICB will have a chair, CEO, stakeholders from local NHS providers, primary care services and local authorities. The fundamental role of ICBs will be the development of a five-year forward plan for how NHS services will be delivered to meet local needs. These must be informed by a consultation with the local ICS partners. 
  • Integrated Care Partnership (ICPs) will be established, alongside each ICB. These will be joint committees that focus on broader health and care services. The make-up of ICPs will include representatives from all the local authorities in the ICS and representation from the ICB. The ICP can also include representatives from other partners such as public health teams, housing services and the VCSE sector. The role of ICPs will be to develop integrated care strategies, setting out how the needs of the local population will be met (informed by local authorities’ joint strategic needs assessments). Although both ICBs and ICPs will set the strategic direction for ICSs, it will be ICBs that will make the spending decisions. And, whilst ICBs will be obliged to have regard to ICP integrated care strategies, there will be no obligation to enact those strategies. 

Click here for the full press release

 

Channel website: http://www.homelesslink.org.uk

Original article link: https://www.homeless.org.uk/connect/blogs/2021/nov/05/health-and-care-reforms-are-opportunity-for-homelessness-organisations

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