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21st Oct, 2021

New Integrated Care System will make health access easier for Worcestershire residents

HEALTH chiefs have pledged better, more joined up care following the announcement Herefordshire and Worcestershire will become an Integrated Care System (ICS) from April 1.

Integrated Care Systems bring greater collaboration to all parts of the health and care system including GPs, hospitals, community care and social care, as well as physical and mental health services, county and district councils and the voluntary sector.

As a result residents should find it easier to access services and see more joined up care delivery, while staff should find it easier to work with colleagues from other organisations.

The move is the culmination of many years of effort to build partnership working across the NHS, local authorities, the third sector and patient groups.

The Government has subsequently proposed a White Paper that will be considered by Parliament and recommends that Integrated Care Systems become statutory NHS bodies in April 2022, replacing Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

Sir David Nicholson, chair of Herefordshire and Worcestershire ICS, said: “Working together we will be better able to tackle health inequality, join up the care for those with multiple conditions, improve support for people with life-long illness and support children to lead healthy lives.”

Since the emergence of Covid-19, health and care organisations across Herefordshire and Worcestershire have been working even more closely together.

For example, the vaccination programme has been a combination of efforts from the various parts of the local health and care system, many more GP and out-patient appointments have been delivered via video link with patients, while some tests previously done in hospital are now carried out by GPs saving patients journeys and reducing the risk to patients and staff of transmitting the disease.

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