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1 July 2022 marks the launch of the new NHS Somerset Integrated Care Board (ICB), which will be known as NHS Somerset.

This is part of a national change that will see 42 similar organisations being established across the country as part of reforms under the Health and Care Bill.

The Bill brings Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) into law, formalising the arrangements for NHS organisations, local councils and other partners in a defined geographical area to work together to deliver more joined up services, tackle inequalities and improve the health of the population.

NHS Somerset will be the new statutory NHS organisation responsible for implementing a health and care strategy that we develop together and in partnership with the people that live in Somerset. It also takes on the legal duties of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group – which as part of the reforms will cease to exist – in the planning, performance, financial management and transformation of the local NHS. All partners together form the Somerset Integrated Care System (ICS). 

ICSs remove barriers between organisations to enable the delivery of better, more joined up care for local communities. Our health is affected by many things – for example, lifestyle choices, housing, educational opportunities, unemployment and poverty. ICSs have the potential to drive improvements in population health and tackle health inequalities by reaching beyond the NHS to work alongside local authorities and other partners to address these wider social and economic determinants of health. 

In Somerset, we have already achieved a lot by working in partnership; this has been strengthened through our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes have been made possible by different organisations – NHS hospitals, GPs, councils, care homes, commissioners, voluntary and community organisations and others – joining forces to agree and plan for local people’s needs.

Jonathan Higman, the Chief Executive of NHS Somerset said: “The move to integrated care gives us the opportunity to really make a difference for our residents and communities. Working together we can deliver huge benefits to the health and care system and improve the health and wellbeing of Somerset’s residents. 

“With the talent, skills, passion, energy and commitment of our colleagues and partners I am confident that we can make a real difference for the people of Somerset.”