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Working Across the System

The Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System (ICS) brings together the full spectrum of partners responsible for planning and delivering health and care across North East Essex, Ipswich and East Suffolk and West Suffolk to ensure shared leadership and joint action to improve the health and wellbeing of the one million people who live locally. The full spectrum of partners engaged in the ICS includes NHS Commissioners, NHS Provider Trusts, local government, primary care – GPs, community pharmacists, optometrists and dentists, independent sector providers, voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector, public, patient and carer groups and other sectors.

Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System (ICS) was one of the first to be established in England in 2018 building on the earlier work of the Suffolk and North East Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP).  Until 2022 the ICS has not been a statutory function or a body but instead a partnership or ‘coalition of the willing’ that enables integrated working through our three local Alliances in North East Essex, Ipswich and East Suffolk and West Suffolk, neighbourhood arrangements including Primary Care Networks and Integrated Neighbourhood teams, and, where useful across the whole of Suffolk and North East Essex or the East of England.

We have always wanted to avoid a hierarchical approach to our ICS so that it can work more as an ecosystem that can adapt and flex to meet the needs of the population. We also recognise the complexity of our system boundaries We have therefore tried to evolve local, common sense ways of working and that enable partners to work together wherever and however the work is done best.

The Health and Care Act, 2022 has now put integrated care systems (ICSs) onto a statutory footing by creating two key new statutory arrangements intended to promote equal partnership between the NHS and its wider partners. Each of the 42 Integrated Care Systems across England therefore now has:

  • An Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) – a statutory committee, bringing together a broad alliance of organisations and representatives concerned with improving the care, health and wellbeing of the population, jointly convened by local authorities and the NHS.
  • An NHS Integrated Care Board (ICB) – a statutory body, the ICB will be responsible for commissioning healthcare services in that ICS area, bringing the NHS together locally to improve population health and care. The ICB will take on the NHS planning functions previously held by CCGs plus new responsibilities delegated from NHS England and NHS Improvement. Each ICB will produce a five-year plan for how NHS services will be delivered to meet local needs and this plan must take account of an integrated care strategy, setting out how the wider health needs of the local population should be met.

Other arrangements that work across the Suffolk and North East Essex System footprint include:

  • An ICS VCFSE Assembly that brings together leaders from across the Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise sector
  • An ICS Chairs Group that brings together the non-executive Chairs of local Health and Wellbeing Boards, NHS Trusts, local Alliances, Non-Executive Members of the NHS Integrated Care Board, and key VCFSE sector Chairs
  • A NED and Elected Member Forum which provides opportunities for non-executives, elected members, governors and lay members to stay in touch with the ICS
  • Provider Collaboratives that enable NHS and other providers to work and collaborate together around specific common areas of service delivery.

Last Updated on 20 March 2023

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