In January, the NHS Long Term Plan was published and outlined a new system for how we will plan and deliver local health and social care. The new system has three levels, with primary care networks (PCNs) and integrated care partnerships (ICPs) sitting within an overall integrated care system (ICS). We are working towards establishing a Kent and Medway ICS by April 2021.

Primary care networks (PCNs) will be based around groups of neighbouring GP practices, serving populations of between 30,000 to 50,000 people. They will provide community, social care and primary care services and will help GPs and other healthcare professionals manage their workloads, enhance clinical capacity and capability, and help attract and retain staff. They will work to make sure the needs, knowledge and voices of local people are reflected in how we plan and deliver healthcare services.

We are developing proposals to establish four integrated care partnerships (ICPs) covering: west Kent; Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley; Medway and Swale; and east Kent. Each will include commissioning and provider organisations working together to develop and deliver services that offer seamless health and care to local people. They will play a key role in health improvement services, reducing health inequalities and designing services that meet patients’ needs, best practice standards, and deliver care within a defined budget.

Integrated Care Systems (ICS)                 
These build on the foundations of sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs). They will bring together local health and care organisations giving a mechanism to support and leverage work across organisational boundaries, redesign care in a holistic way and improve population health through shared leadership, responsibility and action. As part of establishing an ICS we are developing proposals for a single clinical commissioning group covering the whole of Kent and Medway.

Some of these new ways of working are already beginning to take shape through the work we have started in the Kent and Medway STP. We want to seize the opportunity in front of us to break down barriers even further and work more effectively together to deliver better services and better health and care outcomes for local people.

You can find out more in our frequently asked questions.