Integrated Care


The term ‘integrated care’ covers a number of different models of care, however what they all have in common is that there is a close collaboration between NHS organisations, local councils and other providers (charities, not-for-profits, private companies) for planning and delivery of healthcare. Integrated care can cover NHS care, including community care, urgent and emergency care, primary care (GP surgeries), and hospital care, and council services, including social care and public health.

Previously, models of integrated care have been discussed using several different names including accountable care organisation (ACO), integrated care organisation (ICO) and integrated care system (ICS). NHS England abandoned the term ‘accountable’ in 2017/18 and in the NHS Long-Term Plan published in January 2019 only uses the term integrated care system (ICS) as a broad term to cover integrated care development.

Controversy for the development of ICS has revolved around the presence of private companies on the boards' that control the ICS, the large size of the ICS, which reduces local input to healthcare, and the disruption involved in large-scale reorganisation.


Integrated care is a complicated area, this page aims to answer some common questions on this area.

The Health & Care Bill 2022 completed its passage through Parliament in May 2022 and Integrated Care Systems were made into statutory bodies. There have been amendments to the bill and updates can be found in The Lowdown, including the following articles:

Parliament finishes with the Health & Care Bill, but what does it look like now?

'Integrated care' set to be a system of austerity and crisis

More flaws exposed in ‘integrated care’

Signs of Life: a review of Integrated Care System websites

Still no real signs of life in “integrated care systems”

Health and care bill takes deep flaws into committee stage

No private firms to sit on Integrated Care Boards

Integrated Care Q&A

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