NHS Cheshire and Merseyside has entered its first day as a statutory organisation – in a move which will transform health and care for all of its 2.7 million residents.
The milestone means that Cheshire and Merseyside becomes one of 42 Integrated Care Systems (ICS) in the country, which are now on a legal footing. It also signals the closure of all nine Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) in Cheshire and Merseyside.
This marks a significant development in the way health and care needs for the population will be met; by reducing inequality in health and care provision and improving services and outcomes for people.
Integrated care is designed to improve patient experience and outcomes by bringing services closer together and reducing unfair differences in availability and outcomes for people across Cheshire and Merseyside –thereby helping reduce health inequalities.
Today marks the beginning of a new way of improving the health and care of every person in Cheshire and Merseyside. While NHS Cheshire and Merseyside is a new statutory NHS body, Local Authorities are included as members of its Board, strengthening collaborative working. And, NHS Cheshire and Merseyside has gone even further by inviting more local representatives onto its board than most other ICSs in the country.
The new Chair of NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, Raj Jain, said:
“This is not just another re-organisation of services, but a fundamental change in how we think about, decide upon, and deliver better health and care for the people of Cheshire and Merseyside.
“The creation of NHS Cheshire and Merseyside means, by retaining teams and leadership in all of our nine Places, that we will continue to hear, feel, and address the needs of people at a local level, while coming together as one organisation, with our partners, to make bigger and better decisions about how we meet those needs for everyone in the area.
“This is a true opportunity to consider both health and care as one by working with our colleagues in Local Authorities, Public Health, and a range of other sectors, much more closely – and by making decisions together. I am very proud to have been chosen as the Chair of NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, which is the second biggest ICS by population in the country, and I see this as the best opportunity we have ever had to make a real difference in the quality of life for our residents.”
Chief Executive of NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, Graham Urwin, said:
“Day one brings with it a huge amount of opportunity to get things right. And the most important thing for us to achieve together every day in the coming months and years is to truly get things right for the people of Cheshire and Merseyside.
“There are great variations, across our nine Places, in the expectations people can have for a healthy and happy life. In some of our most deprived areas people can live up to 15 years less than those in our more affluent areas. That is simply not right, or fair.
“Good health and care is not just about the services we in the NHS, or other organisations, provide. It is about our lifestyles, our opportunities, the environment we live in, the quality of the air we breathe, the condition of the housing we live in, the chances we have to learn and prosper and the opportunities to get good jobs.
“It is about our ability to afford healthy and varied food and heat our homes, our positive choices around not smoking or reducing the amount we drink and our ability to enjoy open spaces and strong communities.
“For generations we have been trying to tackle these challenges, but we have not worked together as effectively as we could. As separate organisations we have tried our best, but our focus for too long has been about treating and curing people, rather than working together to help stop them becoming ill, unwell or infirm in the first place.
“The creation of NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, and our Integrated Care Partnership, is the greatest opportunity I have seen in my lifetime to make a real difference, to develop excellent partnership working, and yes… to get things right.
“So, on day one, and every day into the foreseeable future, we now have the opportunity to come together, to work together and to make a real difference. Together.”