Primary Care – the impact of the White Paper

There are no surprises in the White Paper. Click here to read it in full.

The main thrust of the paper is to put ICS (integrated Care Systems) onto a statutory footing, and provide the statutory foundation for the reforms which are a progression of the Five Year Forward View (which was published 7 years ago now) and the NHS Long Term Plan published in 2019.

Broadly ICSs will replace CCGs. The top structure of the NHS will be:

  • The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
  • ICSs in each area with a commissioning role and a focus on strategy
  • ICS Health and Care Partnerships  to enable collaboration and integration of health and social care in each area, which will include primary care networks (PCNs)
  • Joint Committees which will be formed of representatives decided locally, but which include PCNs, GP practices, community health providers, local authorities or the voluntary sector to agree ways to work collaboratively

PCNs are mentioned 4 times as being party to the collaborative working at ‘place’ level, although more than one PCN does cover a ‘place’ in many areas.  ‘Place’ is where people identify themselves as living – often it will be a town. Many GP federations covered a ‘place’.  It will be important for GPs to have a clear and co-ordinated voice when participating in ICS Health and Care Partnerships, if they want a say in the priorities for funding in their ‘place’.  The first step is to be part of preparing the plan which each ICS Health and Care Partnership will be required to draw up.

Implementation is anticipated in 2022, but in reality it is already happening.

If you would like to find out more about the white paper or PCN structures and agreements and how we can assist generally, please contact our specialist team.