Parliament calls for new health structures to engage patients
A parliamentary inquiry has called for new health structures to be NHS bodies that engage with people properly.
These new structures involve health and social care organisations working together and are sometimes called accountable care organisations (ACOs), integrated care systems (ICSs) or sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs).
Health and care partners in the City of London and Hackney are currently working to set-up an integrated care system.
The parliamentary inquiry broadly welcomed the new systems as strengthening integration and rolling back the internal market. However, they raised planning, lack of funding and workforce as challenges, warning that the "NHS is currently in survival mode". The inquiry found:
- Private sector involvement in health would be unlikely to increase but that NHS England should reassure the public on this.
- A long-term funding settlement and effective workforce strategy for the NHS is essential.
- New structures should be trialed and evaluated before any rollout across England.
- Engagement with local groups is critical.
- Integrated care should be described from a patient perspective.
They also recommended a new law to set-up the structures as NHS bodies rather than private organisations. This would mean changing the 2012 Health and Social Care Act. The report did not address what would happen to local Healthwatch which were also set-up by this legislation.
Patient campaign groups broadly welcomed the report.
Find out about integration plans in the City and Hackney here.