Are local councils being ignored in this leading health economy?
Three of the four councils involved in an integrated care system (ICS) have threatened to withdraw if they are not given a more strategic role in the health economy.
Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes STP (BLMK STP) was designated an ICS by NHS England in 2017. In a letter to the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) of the STP, the council leaders of Milton Keynes, Luton and Bedford threatened to leave. The leader of the fourth local authority and of the STP, Richard Carr of Central Bedfordshire Council, did not sign the letter.
Health Service Journal reports that the letter was a response to the CCGs’ refusal to appoint joint operational officers with the council, as have been put in place in other regions.
The letter featured five demands, including:
- talks with NHS England about ‘unacceptable’ timeframes
- a jointly funded integration post for each local authority
- service decisions to be made in agreement with the councils
The CCGs in the ICS are:
- Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes
- Bedford Hospital Trust
- Luton and Dunstable University Hospital Trust
- Milton Keynes University Hospital (which, HSJ notes, has been exploring closer collaboration with a trust from a neighbouring health economy)