Earlier this month the government published a White Paper which provides the blueprint for future NHS and social care reforms with a core aim of joining up health and care services, making integrated care the default, reducing legal bureaucracy, and better supporting the NHS as well as social care and public health.

The paper sets out the government’s proposals for legislation, building on extensive consultation. It builds on seven years of practical experience and experimentation across the health service kicked off by the NHS Five Year Forward View, and the NHS Long Term Plan and reinforced by the flexibility NHS staff and organisations have shown through the pandemic.

Whilst the organisational form of NHS providers would remain largely unchanged, local clinical commissioning groups would be disestablished and replaced by new statutory Integrated Care Systems (ICS). The government plans to introduce draft legislation to Parliament this spring / summer, with a view to formal changes taking place in April 2022.

For Northamptonshire, it is important to recognise this is an evolution of a local journey we have been on for some time. NHCP’s transformation work recognises this direction of travel in its planning and some of the local governance we have put in place has anticipated reaching this point. It also builds on the Northamptonshire ICS development plan, which sets out our journey to becoming a maturing ICS in April 2021 and has regional support from NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The White Paper creates the legislative framework that enables us to continue with and build upon work that we have already undertaken locally – enabling closer partnership working across the NHS and with our two new unitary authorities. As a result, we should collectively look forward with optimism and confidence as the future of health and care develops with a core focus around innovative practices, preventative healthcare and working together around patients’ needs.

Look out for further updates in future editions of this newsletter. In the meantime, click here to read the full White Paper and supporting FAQs.