Bleak prospects for troubled ICSs

Even before they gain any statutory powers some Integrated Care Systems are facing major problems, while others are concealing them by not fully revealing the state of play.

There are problems ahead in areas where ICS boundaries cross over the boundaries of local authorities.  The White Paper proposes that ICSs should be coterminous with local authorities, but as the HSJ points out, almost 20 ICSs potentially breach this requirement, – from Cumbria and North Yorkshire in the north through to Essex, Surrey and Hampshire in the home counties.

In some areas Tory councillors and MPs are among those kicking off about it. One Essex Tory has warned that:

“as we come out of covid, we have an intense backlog in cancer and mental health and instead of talking about how to restart and reboot the system, we are going to spend 18 months having to pull apart the [memorandum of understanding] that took 18 months to sign. I think this is [a] retrograde step.”

In Cheshire, Tory councillors are bitterly complaining at their health commissioners being merged with Merseyside, fearing Liverpool will call the shots.

Full story in The Lowdown, 21 March 2021