The purpose and scope of strong provider boards in making ICSs succeed

December 2020

GGI webinar: Wednesday 9 December 2020

Briefing paper to prompt discussion – by Beatrice Fraenkel, Chair, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust

At the end of November 2020, NHS E/I outlined next steps to developing effective integrated care systems (ICSs) across England[1], with the expectation of:

a) stronger partnerships in local places; a more central role for primary care in providing joined-up care
b) formal collaborative arrangements that allow providers to operate at scale
c) the development of strategic commissioning through systems with a focus on population health outcomes
d) digital technology and data driving system working, connecting providers, improving outcomes and giving citizens control of their care.

The development of integrated care systems and provider collaboratives presents a significant opportunity for us to work as partners with greater collective impact to improve population health outcomes for the people we serve.

A critical foundation for effective integrated care systems and provider collaboratives is good, shared data and intelligence used to generate meaningful insight and, from this, a shift in financial flows to support the transformation of care to improve outcomes.

Furthermore, NHS providers can maximise their relationship with patient and service users through co-production and are well placed to draw on this service user ‘voice’ in support of an effective ICS.

With this comes a number of opportunities for strong provider boards and the emerging ICS partners, including:

  • taking care to develop the quality partnerships that already exist
  • bringing together expertise as a well-governed provider board with collaborative partnership expectations
  • achieving alignment of finances with population health and evidenced-need, including the use of data and metrics to improve outcomes
  • progressing provider collaborative approaches during Covid
  • developing system responsibility to support collective development to maturity
  • building excellent resources to support new partnerships and collaboration
  • and, most importantly, keeping in touch with the experience and needs of patients and service users

As ICSs take shape, there are questions provider boards could consider the following:

  • Is our board well positioned and influential in decision making about the design and delivery of ICSs?
  • How can board members ensure they understand local population needs and champion this as a part of the development of ICSs?
  • How can provider boards ensure that excellent governance is developed from the organisation to the system?

Full details about each event in our webinar series is available on the GGI events page: www.good-governance.org.uk/events

[1] Integrating care: Next steps to building strong and effective integrated care systems across England, NHS E/I, November 2020

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