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New DHSC guidance

29th July 2022

This week has seen a raft of policy publications from the Department of Health and Social Care. Read our quick update and signposting to resources:

The  Health and Care Act 2022 has introduced new architecture to the health and care system, with England formally divided into 42 area-based Integrated Care Systems, covering populations of around 500,000 to 3 million people. Integrated Care Systems are partnerships of health and care organisations that come together to plan and deliver joined up services, with the aim of improving health and reducing inequalities for people who live and work in their area.

Specifically this will lead to the establishment of Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) and Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs). Previously, Health and wellbeing boards (HWBs) have been a key mechanism for driving joined-up working at a local level since they were established in 2013.

In this new landscape, HWBs continue to play an important role in:

  • instilling mechanisms for joint working across health and care organisations
  • setting strategic direction to improve the health and wellbeing of people locally

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) will therefore be updating the guidance on the HWBs general duties and powers to provide information on how HWBs currently work and clarify their role within the system – including working with ICBs and ICPs.

There is a significant step forward in national policy (in which iHV had an input) to see that the usual reference to children and young people, now includes the addition of ‘babies’ in their own right – this guidance marks a key step in ensuring that babies, children, young people and families will be prioritised in the new Integrated Care Systems. Amongst other provisions, the guidance sets out that engagement on strategies should be inclusive of children, young people and their families, including new and expectant parents. There is also an explicit section on how babies, children, young people, and families should be considered in the content of the strategies.

New Guidance

  • Health and wellbeing boards: draft guidance for engagement
    This draft guidance for engagement sets out the role of health and wellbeing boards following publication of the Health and Care Act 2022.
  • Guidance on the preparation of integrated care strategies
    This is statutory guidance for integrated care partnerships on the preparation of integrated care strategies. This document contains an introduction, 2 sections of statutory guidance on the preparation of the integrated care strategy including involvement and content, and a section of non-statutory guidance relating to the publication and review of the integrated care strategy.
  • Health overview and scrutiny committee principles
    This guidance sets out the expectations on how health overview and scrutiny committees should work with integrated care systems (ICSs) to ensure they are locally accountable to their communities.
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