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  • Writer's pictureHealthwatch Reading

Your guide to latest NHS reforms

Find out what changes that took effect on 1 July will mean for Reading people.

What is happening on July 1?

  • More than 100 NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will be abolished and replaced with 42 integrated care boards (ICBs)

  • ICBs will take over planning and funding of hospital, GP and other NHS services

  • Integrated care partnerships (ICPs) will also be created, involving NHS, local authorities and others working together to improve health and wellbeing for people

  • ICBs and ICPs are part of the 42 integrated care systems across England

  • These changes are a result of new legislation, the Health and Care Act (2022)

How will ICBs be different from CCGs? CCGs covered smaller areas and were led by local GPs - the most used NHS service - to ensure their knowledge of local people's health needs informed decisions. The new ICBs will cover much larger areas and will be led by a different mix of managers, doctor and nurse representatives and others.

So who will plan and fund NHS services for Reading people? The Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board (‘BOB ICB’) will hold a £ NHS budget for 1.8m people living in Reading, Wokingham, West Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Previously, healthcare was overseen by the Berkshire West CCG, which held a budget of around £6.6m for 557,500 people across Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire.

Will Reading get a fair share of NHS resources? Previously, Reading councillors have expressed concerned about local voices going unheard as decision-making is taken further away from communities. Reading faces greater health inequalities compared with the four other areas covered by the BOB ICB, including lower male life expectancy, higher deaths from avoidable causes, and higher numbers of Minority Ethnic people (many of whom experience poorer health outcomes and barriers). It is now up to Reading councillors, clinicians, local Healthwatch and other stakeholders to ensure our town’s health challenges gain enough attention and action by the ICB.

Will patients and the public get a say on the ICB’s decisions? The BOB ICB says it will:

  • Consult with the public to help inform its plans, as set out in its Working with People and Communities strategy, such as by holding two public forums a year

  • Comply with rules for public consultation if major changes to services are planned

  • Respond to patient experience recommendations made by the five Healthwatch in Reading, Wokingham, West Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire

  • Follow 10 principles set by NHS England on working with people and communities.

10 principles for working with local people The new NHS funding body for our area says it will follow these principles: 1. Put the voices of people and communities at the centre of decision-making 2. Start engagement early and tell people how this has influenced action and decisions 3. Understand community needs, experiences and hopes and check with people that change in health and care is working for them 4. Build relationships with excluded groups – especially those affected by inequalities 5. Work with local Healthwatch and the voluntary & community sector as key partners 6. Ensure the vision, plans and progress are clear and accessible, to build trust 7. Use approaches that empower people and communities and link to social action 8. Use co-production, insight and engagement to achieve accountable services 9. Co-produce and redesign services and tackle priorities in partnership with the public 10. Learn from what works and build on the assets of all partners.

Will ICB meetings be held in public? Yes. Meetings will be publicised at least three days in advance. The public can be excluded from parts of meetings if there are confidential or special reasons. The first meeting was held on 1 July and the next will be held on 27 September. Details on ICB meetings can be found here.

Who’s who on the ICB? Chair: Javed Khan, a former chief executive of Barnado’s and Victim Support

Chief executive officer: Dr James Kent, a previous special health advisor to Teresa May when she was Prime Minister

Full details on the rest of the leadership team can be found on the BOB ICS engagement and transition website.

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