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Integrated Care

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The government's push for integrated care in the NHS is stirring up huge controversy. In the past few years plans to introduce Accountable Care Organisations have emerged, which immediately sparked connections for health campaigners between these new organisations and bodies of the same name that exist in the United States.

Accusations were made that ACOs signalled a radical move towards an insurance-based system. A court case against the government was launched involving one of the plan’s most prominent critics, Prof Stephen Hawking, which forced the government to announce a pause, to consult with the public.

NHS England tried to head off the associations with the USA by changing the name from ACO to Integrated Care Organisation or ICO, but this has had little impact.

In the NHS long-term plan published in January 2019, the Government reiterated its plans for integrated care and used the term Integrated Care Systems (ICS). The term ICS is used to describe a range of care models, from close partnerships between organisations through to a single organisation being in control of integration; the latter is in effect an ICO.

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

Integrated Care Q&A

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