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NHS England Chief offers local government leaders radical new health and social care integration option

High-need individuals to be offered ability to control their own blended NHS and community care, in partnership with voluntary sector.

Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England has announced that the NHS is offering local councils across England the option in which individuals may control their combined health and social care support. The Integrated Personal Commissioning (IPC) programme blends comprehensive health and social care funding for individuals, and allows them to direct how it is used.


Initially four groups of high-need individuals are to be included in the first wave from next April 2015, although councils, voluntary organisations, and NHS clinical commissioning groups may also propose others. The first wave groups include people with long term conditions, including older people with frailty at risk of care home admission.

At the same time, voluntary/Third Sector organisations will be commissioned locally to support personal care planning, advocacy and service ‘brokerage’ for these individuals enrolled in the IPC programme. This innovation extends and combines current work on ‘year of care’ NHS commissioning, personal budgets in ‘continuing care’, and the early experience of 14 ‘integrated care pioneers‘. The new IPC programme does not require any structural reorganisation in either the NHS or local authorities.

Simon Stevens said, “Patients, service users and carers have the biggest interest in getting things right, but they can only do so if we give them real power to shape their own care.

“If Beveridge was alive today he’d clock the fact that – given half a chance – people themselves can be the best ‘integrators’ of the health and social care they are offered.

“We need to stop treating people as a collection of health problems or treatments. We need to treat to them as individuals whose needs and preferences should be seen in the round and whose choices shape services, not the other way round.”

Under the IPC programme, a combined NHS and social care funding endowment will be created based on each individual’s annual care needs. This will blend funds contributed from local authorities and NHS commissioners (CCGs and NHS England). 

NHS care will in all cases remain free at the point of use, and available according to individual need.

NHS England will now work with partners in local government, CCGs, patient groups and the voluntary sector to develop an IPC Prospectus. This will formally invite local expressions of interest in jointly developing and participating in the IPC programme from April 2015.

NHS England will provide technical support to develop projects, and fund independent evaluation. Wider scale rollout of successful projects is envisaged from 2016/17.

Readers are also referred to the Second Report of Session 2014-15 of the House of Commons Health Committee, entitled Managing the care of people with long-term conditions and published on 3 July 2014. This may be downloaded here.


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