NHS England responds to consultation on the integrated care provider contract

NHS England has published its response to a consultation it held on plans for an Integrated Care Provider (ICP) Contract, which will be an option to help local systems integrate care.

Feedback from the consultation, particularly from providers and commissioners, was positive about the potential to improve the process of integrating health care, social care, and public health. However, NHS England said feedback ‘varied considerably across the different types of respondent’.

A number of concerns about ‘potential marketisation of the NHS‘ through competition for contracts were raised by GP representative bodies, a concern that was echoed by a significant majority of responses from the public which broadly rejected the principle of non‑statutory, private‑sector bodies holding ICP contracts.

NHS England focused its response on three broad themes to address the most common topics in feedback:

  • the benefits of a statutory body holding the ICP Contract
  • the inclusion of GP and local authority funded services
  • the role of an ICP will require it to take on greater responsibility for some activities (e.g. sub-contracting, population health management).

Some of the next steps in response to the feedback include:

  • the ICP contracts will have increased transparency requirements (e.g. requiring information on ICP performance and finances to be publicly available)
  • continuing to reassure GP practices that whether and how they participate in the ICP model is voluntary
  • continuing to iterate and improve on the ICP contract over time.