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Role of NHS national and regional teams under review as ICSs develop, says Confed chief

The role of the centre and region of NHS England is under review because trusts will increasingly be accountable to and challenged by their integrated care systems, the NHS Confederation chief executive has said. 

Matthew Taylor, CEO of Confed, also told HSJ people should “guard against scepticism” about the emerging ICSs, which are a “bold experiment” and need to be given time.

Speaking about the respective roles of ICSs and NHS England’s national and regional teams, Mr Taylor said: “One of the challenges for ICSs is that [while] they will be about convening, they’ll be about developing collaboration, they will be developing a shared vision, there will be an element of challenge as well.

“If things go wrong and ICSs and [integrated care boards] are in place, then ICBs will need demonstrate they can tackle those things.”

He added: What we don’t want is another layer [in addition to the] centre and region. I’ve spoken to quite a lot of acute leaders over the last few months about ICBs and ICSs, and when I say to them, ‘do you want another level of accountability that you’ve got to report to?’ They say ‘no’.

“But when I say, ‘what if it replaced - and you had less regulation from - the centre and from the regions, and more from the system level, would that be okay?’ And they say, ‘that’ll be fine, that will be good’.

“Because I think they would feel a level of engagement then. Nobody wants to see more regulation - it’s a question of trying to make sure that challenge function primarily takes place at system level.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 10 February 2022


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