‘Major concern’ has again been raised by senior council figures about the upcoming reorganisation of the NHS – with fears the new system will not deliver for people in York.
There are concerns a top-down approach will see places like York sidelined in the new integrated care systems (ICS), which are set to replace clinical commissioning groups (CCG) later this year.
ICSs are partnerships that bring together providers and commissioners of NHS services across a geographical area with local authorities and other partners to plan health and care services.
City of York council’s executive member for health, Carol Runciman, said: “The objectives of the new system to provide more integrated services and strengthen prevention are of course laudable.
“My concern is that the changes may not add sufficient resources and stability to the system that our services so desperately need.”
Coun Runciman said the timing of the changes, coinciding with pandemic, were “unfortunate”, but the process had been kicked off by the Government.
York will be part of the Humber, Coast and Vale ICS, also covering the rest of North Yorkshire, the East Riding, Hull, North East Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire.
Council leader Keith Aspden said: “These reforms are clearly incredibly important and potentially will have a huge impact on how health and council services are delivered in the city.”
But he added that people would be “immediately concerned” about the size of the area.
Accountable to residents
Local leaders feel that, under the current proposals, there is insufficient local authority representation on the local ICS board.
Coun Runciman said: “If there is lack of representation, it will be a concern for many colleagues and officers. A top down approach for delivering services would not meet local needs and priorities.
“So the focus must be on working to achieve a place-based system directly accountable to our residents and nresponsive to York’s priorities.”
Coun Aspden added: “We believe that the ICS board should include a representative for each of the six places from each local authority to ensure the places like York are involved in that strategic decision making.”
Councillors agreed to write to the ICS and NHS England to highlight their concerns.