What’s changing in health and social care?

The government has published a White Paper (Integration and Innovation, Working together to improve Health and Social Care) which outlines its’ plans for the future of health and social care.

What is a White Paper?

White papers are policy documents produced by the government that set out their proposals for future legislation.

What does the White Paper say?

The purpose of this one is to establish Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) in law and to remove legal barriers to integrated care for patients and communities.

What is an Integrated Care System?
Integrated care systems (ICSs) are new partnerships between the organisations that meet health and care needs across an area, to coordinate services, and to plan in a way that improves population health and reduces inequalities between different groups. The Government wants to do this through integrating health and care. 

An ICS seeks to remove traditional divisions between hospitals and family doctors, between physical and mental health, and between NHS and council services. It argues that in the past these divisions have meant that too many people experience disjointed care.

How many ICSs does the government want?
There will be 42 across England.

Do we have an Integrated Care System in Gateshead?
Yes. Gateshead is part of the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System. Integrated Care Systems serve populations of around 3.1 million people.

That’s a huge area, how will the needs of people in Gateshead be represented?
Sitting underneath Integrated Care Systems are more local Integrated Care Partnerships. Gateshead is in the North of Tyne and Gateshead Integrated Care Partnership.
The members of it are;

Clinical Commissioning Groups

Newcastle Gateshead CCG
North Tyneside CCG
Northumberland CCG

Foundation Trusts

Gateshead Health NHS FT
Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS FT
Northumbria Healthcare NHS FT
Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS FT
North East Ambulance Service NHS FT


Gateshead Council
Newcastle City Council
North Tyneside Council
Northumberland County Council

Is there anything that worries people about this change?
Many people believe that integrating health and social care is a good thing. Others believe that doing it through Integrated Care systems is the next step to the break up and privatisation of the NHS as it effectively passes control to unelected and unaccountable bodies (i.e. Integrated Care Systems). These could, by the proposals in the White Paper, include an ICS board with members from the private sector. The ICS board would have ultimate control over not only the NHS but also social care, removing control of it from local councils.