1. What is an Integrated Care System?

An Integrated Care System (ICS) is one in which local NHS organisations (both commissioners and providers), often in partnership with other organisations, choose to take on clear collective responsibility for resources and population health, providing joined up, better coordinated care.

Berkshire West was recognised by NHS England (NHSE) as an ICS Exemplar area in June 2016.

 2. Who are the member organisations of the Berkshire West ICS?

  • The local acute hospital provider Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
  • The local community and mental health service provider Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust
  • The four Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), and from April the merged clinical commissioning group Berkshire West CCG
  • Primary Care Provider Alliances (groups of GP practices) have representation to ensure primary care has a greater platform in the design and evolution of services for patients

 3. When did Berkshire West become an ICS?

Berkshire West was recognised by NHS England (NHSE) as an ICS Exemplar area in June 2016.

 4. What geographical area is covered by our local ICS?

The Integrated Care System covers a registered population of approximately 528,000 residents, living in three Local Authority areas:

  • Reading Borough Council
  • West Berkshire Council
  • Wokingham Borough Council

5. What will be different?

As an ICS we are expected to make faster progress in transforming the way care is delivered, as set out in the NHS 5 year forward view – next steps, including taking the strain off A&E, investing in general practice to make it easier to get a GP appointment, and improving access to high quality cancer and mental health services.

 In addition, a number of local initiatives will be identified that deliver against our local objectives:

  • Develop a preventative model of working – Promotion of primary and preventative care through reduction of more costly care
  • Improve patient experiences and outcomes – Optimised patient pathways across all areas e.g. planned care, mental health, maternity, Long Term Conditions, frail elderly, End of Life, urgent and emergency care
  • Deliver financial stability for the system – New finance and payment mechanisms put in place between the parties to optimise allocation of resources

6. How will the ICS benefit patients?

More people now need care across a number of different settings – hospitals, primary care, clinics, nursing homes and home care agencies – which are often not co-ordinated. The result of this for our patients is a system which produces variable quality of care and where patients may experience lapses in care as they move between organisations. By working collaboratively, the ICS will allow integrated approaches to system working to improve the quality and patient experience of care and overall health of the population.

7. How are decisions made?

We have established an ICS Unified Executive group, that includes senior executives and clinicians from all partner organisations, who take responsibility for delivery of the ICS programme of work and monitoring and reviewing the financial performance of the Integrated Care System and its constituent organisations. Where changes to clinical pathways and services are identified we will work with local residents to shape and develop solutions in response to local needs.

 8. Are there ICSs anywhere else?

Yes, Berkshire West is one of ten ICSs across England. The others are:

  • Frimley Health including Slough, Surrey Heath and Aldershot
  • South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw, covering Barnsley, Bassetlew, Doncaster, Rotherham, and Sheffield
  • Nottinghamshire, with an early focus on Greater Nottingham and Rushcliffe
  • Blackpool & Fylde Coast with the potential to spread to other parts of the Lancashire and South Cumbria at a later stage
  • Dorset
  • Luton, with Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire
  • Buckinghamshire