Today (Friday, 1 July) marks a significant change to the way health and care will be governed in Kent and Medway and across England.
From today, 42 statutory integrated care systems will bring together the NHS, councils and other partners to plan and deliver health and care services in their area.
The legal introduction of integrated care systems, via the Health and Social Care Act 2022, sees clinical commissioning groups dissolved.
Integrated care boards – for us, NHS Kent and Medway – will be leadership organisations supporting partners to more effectively join up care and place an emphasis on prevention.
NHS Kent and Medway Chief Executive Paul Bentley said: “We know there are far too many people living with health inequalities across the communities we serve and this will be a major focus of our work. We know more has to be done to improve the outcomes for people and the experience they have when they need care.
“Much of what influences health is outside of health and care services, so we must enable and lead this change – we see every day the direct impact of poor health and care. Prevention is critical.
“The beginning of NHS Kent and Medway and the integrated care system that involves so many partners, including councils and the voluntary sector, is crucial to this.’’
NHS Kent and Medway Chair Cedi Frederick said: “We need more than organisational change; we need to create a movement that can bring every organisation to come together, work together and work differently so we can deliver something better for the people of Kent and Medway.
Kent and Medway has a population of 1.9million people and is one of the largest integrated care systems in the country.
The aim is to enable the 42 areas to completely transform health and care for people in their local communities, as well as cutting red tape. For example, boosting health checks in the community to find people with health problems before they become seriously unwell is a key goal of the shift to integrated care systems, where local organisations work together to better meet the needs of local people.
You can see more about what partners working together want to achieve in this film.