NHS England and NHS Improvement has confirmed that Birmingham and Solihull Sustainability and Transformation Partnership’s (STPs) application to become an Integrated Care System (ICS) has been approved. The ICS will now move forward at pace, to enable it to deliver its full ambition by April 2022.
In an integrated care system, NHS organisations, in partnership with local councils and other partners, take collective responsibility for managing resources, delivering NHS care, and improving the health of the population they serve.
This is a crucial step for the Birmingham and Solihull system, recognising significant partnership working and collaboration over recent years across the NHS and local government. Whilst there is more work to do to create the ICS, it will bring about more improvements in health outcomes for local people, reducing health inequalities, promoting continuity of care, and making practical improvements to people’s lives, as well as creating more support, time and space for staff to collaborate and deliver their role more effectively, in a safe and compassionate way. The ICS will be able to do this by looking at the wider determinants of health and wellbeing, in a much more joined-up and unified way.
Paul Jennings, Birmingham and Solihull ICS Lead, said: “This is fantastic news; we are passionate about the difference that we can make by working together, to tackle the unacceptable health inequalities we have across the area. People living in Birmingham and Solihull don’t understand the boundaries or differences of our organisations, as they already expect us to be working together, and too often experience issues where we aren’t fully ‘joined up’. By working together, we can take big decisions around how and where care is delivered, to ensure we are making the most impact. By integrating how we make decisions together, holding ourselves to account about how we offer and deliver care, we believe we are more likely to close the health and wellbeing, care, quality and financial gaps across our area. Ultimately, we want Birmingham and Solihull to be the best place to live and work.”
Dame Yve Buckland, who has recently been appointed as Chair of the ICS, said: “It’s a privilege to take on the role of Chair for the Birmingham and Solihull ICS. As ICS partners, we serve a large, diverse and vibrant region with incredible examples of innovative health and social care and many world-class services. However, there remain deep pockets of inequality and variation. As we emerge from the pandemic, focussing on integration has never been more important. We have an opportunity to close the gaps and create effective, holistic, person-centred pathways which support the citizens of Birmingham and Solihull to live healthier and happier lives.”
Rebecca Farmer, Director of Strategic Transformation (Birmingham and Solihull), NHS England and NHS Improvement added: “It is positive news that Birmingham and Solihull STP has been designated as an Integrated Care System. This will bring further health and care benefits to its population through joined-up working across the NHS, local authorities and other care giving organisations. The pandemic has accelerated this work and further integration will be critical to enable the system to address the underlying health inequalities and social and economic consequences of COVID for patients and the wider community across Birmingham and Solihull.”