Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs) are collaborative networks of service providers. They include healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and hospital specialists; the voluntary and community sectors; local council representatives; and service users and carers.
Through working together ICPs aim to improve how local services are designed and co-ordinated for the benefit of patients and service users in local communities.
They are charged with delivering more integrated care for frail older people and those with specific long-term conditions, such as respiratory disease, diabetes and stroke. They also work to prevent hospital admission by identifying patients most at risk and proactively work across health and social care to develop strategies to manage their health and social care needs.
17 Integrated Care Partnerships are working throughout Northern Ireland across the five Local Commissioning Group (LCG) areas to ensure coverage of all GP practices. Each ICP is based around natural geographies of approximately 100,000 people and 25-30 practices.
ICPs support the vision to make home and the community the hub of care. They also aim to ensure that services are personalised and seamless; empower patients; promote health; and prevent illness, where possible.
Focusing on services for the frail elderly, and long term conditions including respiratory conditions, diabetes and stroke, they address the entire care pathway for each of these patient groups, from prevention through to end of life care, and look at how care can be improved.
ICPs have brought together a range of providers from across the health and social care system to review how care is being delivered for each of these patient groups and to consider how services could be improved and better coordinated.
The ICP partnership committees are responsible for four key aspects of improving care for the priority groups:
This is known as the RICE agenda.
ICPs do not have a commissioning role. If funding is needed to implement changes ICPs develop business cases that identify the resources required to better integrate services in line with regional commissioning specifications for each of the clinical priority areas.
Those business cases are reviewed and scrutinised by Local Commissioning Groups (LCGs), committees of the Health and Social Care Board.
The implementation of proposals developed by ICPs, and agreed by Local Commissioning Groups, has taken place across all areas.
A significant number and range of projects have been delivered and work is underway to enable the spread of that learning across the HSC.
Work includes significant improvements in care quality and cost savings in a range of projects including nurse home in reach services, acute care at home, reductions in diabetes related amputations and rapid access to respiratory care.
Some of the achievements to date include: a social prescribing pilot in the West; diabetes community service in Belfast and a falls prevention initiative, developed in one ICP area and now operating across all ICP areas.
ICPs are enabling local health and social care professionals, voluntary and community sector organisations, local councils and service users and carers to work more closely together than ever before.
This collaborative approach to designing and providing more integrated services is helping to: