West Midlands STPs given bespoke NHS England support to become Integrated Care Systems

Alison Tonge, Director of Commissioning Operations at NHS England (West Midlands and North Midlands) outlines how West Midlands is driving forward change by providing unique and bespoke support to sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) to development of Integrated Care Systems (ICS).

“It is almost two years since NHS organisations and local councils came together to form STPs to improve health and care of people living across England.

In the West Midlands, NHS England has been supporting our four STPs to evolve and develop to form integrated care systems – a new type of even closer collaboration – by designing and implementing a unique programme of support.

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.

Here in the West Midlands, we have led the way to support our STPs and have delivered a bespoke 12 week programme to help our health and care systems develop a roadmap for becoming an integrated care system.

The key components of the programme included seminars, action learning sets, workshops and wrap-up sessions covering topics and themes agreed with the STP leads and tailor made for the needs and desired outcomes of each individual system.

Example topics included strategy, finance and governance as well as addressing latest thinking on policy, international and domestic experience and case studies from NHS England and NHS Improvement as well as Optum and PwC, who as independent organisations, led the sessions.

The Action Learning Sets focused on advancing very specific and challenging issues such as barriers to becoming an ICS whereas the workshops were open to a wider set of participants, including key people from within the STP who are taking the work forward locally.

The subject matter of the workshops were again agreed locally but the focus was on the overall goal of developing a roadmap to becoming a shadow ICS.

It is pleasing that each of the organisations which form part of our four STPs in the West Midlands have been so positive about their participation in the programme which has encouraged them to think as a system rather than as individual commissioners and providers.

I am obviously delighted that the additional provision of help, guidance and support has helped out STPs and I am now looking at how we can create something similar to benefit and progress STPs in the North Midlands DCO.”

Alison Tonge
Director of Commissioning Operations, NHS England (West Midlands and North Midlands)