Health and care partners to work even more closely together for the benefit of local people

Health and care organisations in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) are set to work in an even more joined up way after NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI) said they had met the criteria to become an Integrated Care System (ICS).

An ICS is a way of working across health and care organisations that allows partners to work closer together to take collective responsibility for the health and wellbeing of populations across large areas.

Across BSW, hospitals, GP surgeries, community care providers, local authorities, a mental health trust, an ambulance trust and voluntary sector organisations have been working together since 2016 as part of the BSW Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP).

The considerable progress made through joint working, especially throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, has now been formally recognised by NHS England and Improvement through official designation as an ICS – working as the BSW Partnership.

Tracey Cox, Senior Responsible Officer for the BSW Partnership, said: “I am delighted that the dedicated approach to breaking down barriers and working together across the BSW Partnership had been recognised by NHSEI through our designation as an Integrated Care System.

“We have come a long way as a (now former) sustainability and transformation partnership and more recently our successful joint working in response to Covid-19 has shown that we can achieve great things by working together for the health and wellbeing of our local people.

“We’re confident we can build on our solid foundations and are looking forward to the next chapter as we develop a truly integrated health and care system.”

Working together as the BSW Partnership, health and care partners will prioritise issues that matter to local communities as well as managing health and care provision during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Collectively this will help the partnership to achieve its vision of ‘working together to empower people to lead their best life’.

The BSW Partnership will do this through its five key ambitions:

  • To improve the health and wellbeing of our population
  • Reduce health and care inequalities
  • Improve the quality and experience of care for those receiving and those delivering it
  • Ensure workforce development and wellbeing
  • Make the best use of resources

The BSW Partnership is also responsible for setting the strategy and goals for improving health and care in the area and overseeing the quality and safety, decision making, governance and financial management of health and care services.

It will also provide clinical and professional leadership for the whole area.

Stephanie Elsy, Independent Chair of the BSW Partnership said: “The BSW Partnership’s designation is recognition of the progress we have made together in providing joined up care – especially during the national Covid-19 emergency.

“I would like to thank everybody involved for their incredible hard work, commitment and dedication in getting us to this stage of our development.

“Becoming an ICS will mean local people will begin to see health and care services work in a more joined up way, meaning that they only have to tell their story once and will receive care better tailored to their individual needs.

“One of the first priorities for the BSW Partnership is to increase engagement with the public and other stakeholders, so that everyone understands the work of the partnership and is kept updated about developments and has the opportunity to get involved in our plans.”

Elizabeth O’Mahony, NHS Regional Director for the South West said: “We’re really pleased to see a further four integrated care systems designated in the South West, joining Gloucestershire and Dorset.

“It’s a great tribute to their hard work and commitment as they seek to break down barriers, especially during the pandemic.“The benefits should be felt by local people for years to come in terms of coordinated planning and care.”

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