Integrated care systems

In 2016, NHS organisations and local councils came together to form 44 sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) covering the whole of England, and set out their proposals to improve health and care for patients.

In some areas, a partnership will evolve to form an integrated care system, a new type of even closer collaboration. In an integrated care system, NHS organisations, in partnership with local councils and others, take collective responsibility for managing resources, delivering NHS standards, and improving the health of the population they serve.

Local services can provide better and more joined-up care for patients when different organisations work together in this way. For staff, improved collaboration can help to make it easier to work with colleagues from other organisations. And systems can better understand data about local people’s health, allowing them to provide care that is tailored to individual needs.

By working alongside councils, and drawing on the expertise of others such as local charities and community groups, the NHS can help people to live healthier lives for longer, and to stay out of hospital when they do not need to be there.

In return, integrated care system leaders gain greater freedoms to manage the operational and financial performance of services in their area. They will draw on the experience of the 50 ‘vanguard’ sites, which have led the development of new care models across the country.

More information is available in: Breaking down barriers to better health and care.


Map of England showing the accountable care systems locations numbered from 1 to 10

Find out more about some areas that are working towards developing an integrated care system:

  1. South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw
  2. Frimley Health and Care
  3. Dorset
  4. Befordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes
  5. Nottinghamshire
  6. Lancashire and South Cumbria
  7. Berkshire West
  8. Buckinghamshire
  9. Greater Manchester (devolution deal)
  10. Surrey Heartlands (devolution deal)

In May 2018 NHS England and NHS Improvement announced four more areas would become integrated care systems as they received a vote of confidence in strong local leadership, partnership working and ambitious plans to strengthen primary care and integrate services for the benefit of local communities. The four areas are:

Find out more

Take a look at the Next steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View.

Sign up to the Future Health and Care bulletin, providing the latest news and events on integrating health and care across the country.