One-size-fits-all? How the new Health & Care Bill promotes local healthcare.

The Health and Care Bill was published on 6th July 2021, laying out key legislative proposals for the organisation and delivery of health services in England which aim to see an increase in joined-up services via Integrated Care Partnerships (ICSs) and ensure a greater focus on improving health in local areas.

Within the Bill are significant differences to the NHS’s previous set-up, with CCGs abolished and ICSs replacing them, and the aim of driving local collaboration for the overall benefit of improving the patient experience. These changes are already well underway, and also have the benefit of taking advantage of the acceleration in locally led partnership working between system partners which was enhanced during the tackling of the Covid-19 pandemic during 2020.

As the Bill aims to promote this collaborative way of working, ICSs can get ahead of the Bill by emphasising and improving their local partnerships, and building their management boards in such a way which both endorses and supports this. Within this, ICSs can place their focus on the needs of their locality, and work collaboratively to benefit patients across the whole area, rather than having organisations compete for resources.

In doing this, the Bill aims to address the issue of health inequality across the country in the long-term. By not issuing a one-size-fits-all approach to advising on how ICSs collaborate, both NHS England and the legislative proposals seek to push forward local integration. This allows for systems to have the freedom to address and respond to the specific needs of their local populations and demographics, rather than following a standardised approach.

However, the Bill does also put into law the ability for the Secretary of State both to intervene earlier in decisions about changes to local services, and to direct NHS England, in a greater extent than that which has been previously seen. Whilst this may provide support in certain situations, it also has caused concern that not only will it take away from the focus on improving health across a local area, and hinder collaboration to deliver better all-round care for those who require it, as well as create bureaucratic backlogs for decisions to be made.

Liaison Group CEO, Andrew Armitage, comments: “We support the aims of the Bill in allowing and encouraging greater local collaboration, and hope to see ICS leaders using the incoming legislation to create agendas which put system working front and centre of all plans. By listening to the needs of patients and those who provide care, a path to greater collaboration can be built which addresses the full patient experience and betters it to ultimately raise health across the area.

“We will continue to provide support in the creation of ICSs and partnered working, in the areas of Workforce technology, Continuing Healthcare and generating Financial savings.  We also continue to listen to Boards and leaders with regards to their local challenges, and partner with them to provide solutions which help to facilitate collaboration.”

To find out more, or to speak to a member of the team at Liaison Group, please get in touch at

Leaked survey results reveal drop in NHS staff wellbeing support

A monthly national survey of NHS staff, the ‘People Pulse’, has revealed a significant drop in those who feel that their health and wellbeing is being supported by their employers, in results seen by the HSJ.

According to a snapshot of results recorded between May and August, there was a drop of 9.6 percentage points in “perceptions of wellbeing support”, with “positivity” sitting at 57.3%. Furthermore, almost a quarter of the survey respondents reported a “negative” experience of health and wellbeing support.

The report also showed that almost 35% of staff surveyed described themselves as demotivated, suggesting that “colleagues are becoming jaded due to the prolonged pressures of the pandemic”.

Liaison Workforce Managing Director, Judith Shaw, says: “It is hardly surprising that NHS workforces are beginning to feel jaded by the pandemic. Most of the population probably feels the same way, and that is without providing frontline care to Covid patients.

“What is important now for workforce leaders is to continue to provide health and wellbeing support, but to look beyond short-term assistance and instead look to providing substantial support which makes a real difference to working lives, as well as physical, mental and financial wellbeing. For example, implementing flexible working, enabling daily pay facilities, or providing salary sacrifice-based holidays, which promote better morale and a family focus.”

To find out how Liaison Workforce can promote wellbeing in your organisation, including the examples given, please contact us at

Who will lead NHS England’s ICSs?

The HSJ has created a map showing the details which have been revealed to date about who will lead England’s 42 ICSs.

The map of England is split by current ICS area and provides information on the ICB chair designate, chief executive designate, current chair, current executive lead, the top of the advertised salary range for the CEO, and the ICS population size.

The map is colour coded to present the progress of filling the ICB Chair and Chief Executive roles, giving an indication of both regional and national progress.

You can find a copy of the map on the HSJ website.

In Conversation With… Stephen Moir, Leadership in the NHS – Steering us out of Covid-19

In this month’s In Conversation With, Julia Tybura, Non-Executive Director at Liaison Workforce, speaks with Stephen Moir, Executive Director of Resources at The City of Edinburgh Council, who shares his extensive knowledge of NHS leadership and how good management will support the workforce on their long journey out of the pandemic. The conversation includes:

  • The impact of Covid-19 on NHS workforces
  • How ICSs can engage with the community to create integration
  • Prioritising people over buildings in the new future of the NHS

Join the conversation here:

News & Views

  • CGC Chief Inspector, Ted Baker, says ICS leaders must have courage to put quality first. Read more.
  • Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman warns powers will be weakened by Health and Care Bill reforms. Read more.
  • NHSX has announced that it will fund a project to support ICSs with digitalising musculoskeletal Read more.
  • Liaison Financial have launched a new Private Patients Optimisation service, which can increase Private Patient income in NHS organisations by up to 20%. Read more.