New health and care system for Sussex goes live

Major changes to how the NHS in Sussex is organised have come into force.

GP-led clinical commissioning groups were made responsible for the planning and commissioning many primary health care services for their local area back in 2013 taking over from the old primary care trusts.

But these have now been replaced and consolidated into ‘integrated care systems’, with Sussex Health and Care or NHS Sussex now covering the entire county.

Although the organisation has been running for two years, changes set out in the Health and Care Act came into effect from Friday (July 1).

Doctors' stethoscope (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

The new ICS has four key aims: improving outcomes in population health and healthcare; addressing inequalities in outcomes, experience and access; enhancing productivity and value for money; and supporting broader social and economic development.

NHS Sussex will be holding its inaugural board meeting this week.

The board will agree the strategic priorities and resource allocation for all NHS organisations in Sussex.

Meanwhile a Sussex health and care assembly will be the statutory joint committee between the NHS and local government that comes together to formally agree the strategic direction for the healthcare system.

Alongside the statutory changes being made, three health and care partnerships are being developed which are formed around the populations of West Sussex, Brighton & Hove and East Sussex.

Meanwhile at a very local level, the development of primary care networks will continue to be supported. These are groups of GP practices working together with community and mental health services as well as voluntary and community and social enterprise services to better support the wide-ranging health and care needs of communities.

A spokesman for NHS Sussex said: “Our ambition is to bring more integrated and joined-up services to our populations to ensure people are receiving the best possible experience and are better supported to maintain their health throughout their lives.”

A series of in-person and online events are taking place across the county over the coming weeks, for residents to share their views on health and care services. The events will include information about the changes and the opportunity for people to share their recent experiences accessing and using of health and care services.