Supporting ICSs is key to building an NHS that meets the health needs of an ageing society

Matthew Taylor responds to the Chief Medical Officer's annual report on health in an ageing society.

10 November 2023

Responding to the Chief Medical Officer’s annual report health in an ageing society, Matthew Taylor chief executive of the NHS Confederation said:
"NHS leaders will welcome this report which highlights one of the biggest challenges that faces us as a society. 
"Our members know that the way our health service currently works is not sustainable, and substantive shifts are needed in order to ensure we build a health service fit for the future. 
"Critically, as highlighted by Professor Whitty’s report, environmental factors that influence health need more political focus. Health leaders need government to stop seeing health policy as being synonymous with NHS policy. 
"Government must provide the vision to lead a cross-Whitehall strategy on health that looks at the health impacts of housing, transport, work and beyond. 
"Another important observation of this report is the geographical concentration of people living in older age. This is one reason Integrated Care Systems (ICS) are key to securing a more sustainable future for our NHS and wider public services. Local health leaders have the understanding of local communities needed to commission and deliver services in a way that best meets those specific needs. 
"To ensure the full benefits of ICSs are realised, government needs to give ICS leaders the autonomy they need to make decisions in the interests of local communities, including through general allocations of funding that they can use in the way that ensures people enjoy the best possible health, whilst ensuring maximum value for money for the taxpayer."