Integrated Care Systems to cover all England by April 2021 – Development Plans due by 21 September

NHS England has instructed all Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships and existing Integrated Care Systems to come up with development plans by 1st September, that embed and speed up “system” working methods used to respond to and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the so-called Phase 3 of the NHS response to Covid-19. The plans have to be finalised and sent to the quango by 21st September.

This is part of the contentious move for all Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships to become Integrated Care Systems by April 2021.

The instructions come in NHS England’s 31st July letter to NHS organisations on the Third Phase of the NHS Response to Covid-19:

“Working across systems, including NHS, local authority and voluntary sector partners, has been essential for dealing with the pandemic and the same is true in recovery. As we move towards comprehensive ICS coverage by April 2021, all ICSs and STPs should embed and accelerate this joint working through a development plan,agreed with their NHSE/I regional director, that includes:

•Collaborative leadership arrangements, agreed by all partners, that support joint working and quick, effective decision-making. This should include a singleSTP/ICS leader and anon-executive chair,appointed in line with NHSE/I guidance, and clearly defined arrangements for provider collaboration, place leadership and integrated care partnerships. [Information from S Yorks and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System spells out that NHSE/I appoints the ICS Leaders: “ICSs each have a System Leader, who is appointed by NHS England and NHS Improvement though a local process with responsibilities for local system oversight agreed.”]
•Organisations within the system coming together to serve communities through a Partnership Board, underpinned by agreed governance and decision-making arrangements including high standards of transparency –in which providers and commissioners can agree actions in the best interests of their populations, basedon co-production, engagement and evidence.
•Plans to streamline commissioning through a single ICS/STP approach. This will typically lead to a single CCG across the system. Formal written applications to merge CCGs on 1 April 2021 needed to give effect to this expectation should be submitted by 30 September 2020.
•A plan for developing and implementing a full shared care record, allowing the safe flow of patient data between care settings, and the aggregation of data for population health.

Finally, we are asking you –working as local systems –to return a draft summary plan by 1 September using the templates issued and covering the key actions set out in this letter, with final plans due by 21 September. These plans need to be the product of partnership working across STPs/ICSs, with clear and transparent triangulation between commissioner and provider activity and performance plans”

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System aka Health and Care Partnership made no mention of this in their report to the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Joint Health Scrutiny Committee on 4th August on their response to COVID-19.


  1. When Boris and Dominic Cummings finally destroy the UK economy with Covid 2nd wave and No Deal Brexit the fury of betrayal could, just could ressemble the popular wave that propelled Labour to its landslide victory after WW2. Fingers crossed.


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