The National Rural Conference 2024

The Rural Services Network (RSN) is thrilled to announce the National Rural Conference 2024, taking place from 16th to 19th September. This virtual event, accessible via Zoom, is the premier gathering for senior officers, members, policymakers, and rural service professionals.
Further information and booking details can be found here

Government commits to strengthening local care systems

Following the publication of two key reports, the Government has committed to several measures to support Integrated Care Systems (ICS).  The Hewitt Review and the Health and Social Care Committee (HSCC) inquiry both highlighted the role ICS must play in delivering local services.

In its response, the Department of Health and Social Care outlined the actions it will be taking to work with NHS England and local health and care systems, to deliver joined up care for patients and communities. As part of this, the department will review and streamline national targets to ensure that systems are able to focus on improving health for their populations.

Amanda Pritchard, NHS Chief Executive, said: “Integrated care systems have the power to change the way the NHS provides care for people while working alongside local government to ensure people live healthier lives.

“Health systems across the country are already making a real impact and we will continue to support local areas to improve outcomes for patients.”

ICSs bring together NHS, local government, social care providers, charities and other partners to deliver on 4 goals:

  • improving outcomes in population health and healthcare
  • tackling inequalities in outcomes, experience and access
  • enhancing productivity and value for money
  • helping the NHS support broader social and economic development

Each ICS has an integrated care board that includes representatives from local authorities, primary care and NHS trusts and foundation trusts, who make decisions on commissioning health and care services in their local areas.

The latest commitments come more than 16-months after the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Rural Health and Care and the National Centre for Rural Health and Care published its findings of a three-year investigation.  The report detailed that ICSs should assist authorities in implementing the recommendations of the inquiry which included:

  • Build understanding of the distinctive health and care needs of rural areas;
  • Deliver services that are suited to the specific needs of rural places;
  • Develop a structural and regulatory framework that fosters adaption and innovation;
  • Develop integrated services that provide holistic, person-centred care.

RSN’s Chief Executive at the time, Graham Biggs, MBE, said:

“We very much support the conclusions of this report. The acknowledgement that infrastructure concerns such as those relating to transport and digital connectivity have significant impacts on rural health, social care and wellbeing and increase vulnerabilities and inequalities is very timely and very welcome. The issues here are not just for the Department of Health & Social Care but are cross-government, fundamental to levelling-up and need urgent attention.”


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