On the 1st of July this year, the new South-East London Integrated Care System (ICS) will replace the South-East London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The South-East London ICS brings together local health and care organisations and local councils to design care and improve the health of the population.
What is an ICS?
An ICS is a new model, initiated by the NHS, for organising local health and care. ICSs are partnerships between many organisations that meet health and care needs across an area. It enables all services to coordinate and communicate better. This allows for better planning, which in turn, improves the health of the population and reduces inequalities across the whole area.
ICSs focus on:
- preventing ill health and improving wellbeing – prevention is always better than cure.
- Taking a holistic approach – looking at the whole person, i.e. physical, mental and social.
- Faster access to healthcare and significantly reduced waiting lists.
- Seamless care from one service to another.
The South-East London ICS
South-East London has both a growing and an ageing population which means socio-economic deprivation is also growing. With this, we see more illness, disability and ultimately loss of life. The new South-East London ICS will tackle this.
It is a complex system involving six local authorities and five provider trusts, together serving a diverse population of around two million. Integrated care gives people the support they need, across local councils, the NHS, and other partners. It removes traditional divisions between hospitals and family doctors, between physical and mental health, and between NHS and council services. In the past, these divisions have meant that too many people experienced disjointed care.
Benefits of the South-East London ICS
The aims of an ICS are to drive improvement in population health. By working together we will see:
- Improved outcomes support people to be in control of their physical and mental health and have a greater say in their own care.
- Reduced inequality of access and experience of care across all community groups, particularly deprived groups.
- Increased number of people who can live independently and know what to do when things go wrong.
- Primary care services are sustainable and consistently excellent and have an increased focus on prevention.
- An enhanced experience when accessing care by delivering services that meet the same high quality whenever and wherever.
- Improved productivity within organizations.
- Increased value for money within services – deliver better value and avoid waste.
- Communities are better able to support each other.
One of the strengths of the system is that arrangements can be adapted to reflect what makes sense locally.
The South-East London ICS is bringing together all organizations involved in caring for the physical and mental health of the community. This includes NHS, local councils, and other important strategic partners such as the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, including Bridge Support in Greenwich. By working together, we have developed better and more convenient services, invested in keeping people healthy and out of hospital, and set shared priorities for the future.
Bridge and the South-East London ICS
The VCSE (Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise) sector is an essential partner in the South-East London ICS. A range of services with an integral role in system transformation, innovation, and integration.
There will be over 30 clinical and VCSE staff all working out of the Plumstead Health Centre to deliver a range of mental health services with a multidisciplinary approach. This means that for the first time, both clinical and VCSE staff will be offering bespoke support to the Greenwich adult population.
Bridge is delighted to be part of the development of this Greenwich Community Wellbeing Hub. It provides an opportunity to address some long-standing gaps in the provision of mental health services in Greenwich.
The service provides a ‘front-door’ to mental health support with a no ‘wrong door’ approach. It provides frictionless movement between services and uses common assessment approaches and cross-team working to facilitate this.
It operates across Primary and Secondary Care as a bridging-the-gap service and provides step-down support for people ready for discharge from secondary care.
The service also ensures a holistic approach to assessing and meeting the needs of the people, with a focus on the wider determinants of mental health.
It is a multi-disciplinary team approach, bringing expertise from all areas to provide clinical and non-clinical support to the people who need it.