Today marks the beginning of a new era for health and care services across Lancashire and South Cumbria as the way services are planned, paid for and delivered changes to better meet the needs of local people.
One of the big changes involved is that the eight NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) that have been responsible for overseeing local NHS services for more than a decade will formally shut down and are being replaced by NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) also known as NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria.
The new organisation will be responsible for NHS spending and the day-to-day running of the NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria.
Chief executive of NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, Kevin Lavery, said: “Health and care services are undergoing one of the biggest and most exciting changes in decades. From today, the way health and care services are organised across Lancashire and South Cumbria will change.
“We have a core purpose to improve outcomes in population health and healthcare and tackle inequalities in outcomes, experience and access. We also need to enhance productivity and value for money and help the NHS support broader social and economic development.”
In Lancashire and South Cumbria over the past few years, there have been considerable developments in health services, local authorities and wider partnership teams working together thanks to the commitment of health and social care staff.
But there are challenges ahead, as Kevin explains: “With there being nearly a third of Lancashire and South Cumbria residents living in some of the most deprived areas across England, greater integration of health and care services is essential for supporting those who are most vulnerable. We are seeing frailer elderly, an increase in patients with complex needs and more children, young people and adults with mental health needs.”
Alongside the new NHS organisation, the Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership has been formally established as part of the new Health and Care Act 2022. This brings together health and care partners, including local authorities and voluntary and community groups who are working closely to agree on priorities and a health and care strategy.
Kevin said: “There is an overwhelming sense of opportunity across all of the partners in Lancashire and South Cumbria to work together to improve the health and wellbeing of our local people – and there’s a collective ambition to grasp it.
“I have an incredible sense of positivity about the future and greater integration of health and care.”
Kevin also paid tribute to those who have been involved in the CCGs over the last nine years.
He said: “The CCGs really put local clinicians at the heart of developments in local NHS commissioning. I would like to thank all of those involved including the staff and the GP board members.”