Lincolnshire County Council will work closer with NHS partners providing health services after the creation of a new board.
The new group, which will be called the Integrated Care System (ICS) Partnership Board, was approved during Lincolnshire County Council’s full council meeting on Friday. It will aim to foster closer working between council and NHS services.
It will include eight county councillors, three county council directors, nine health chiefs, a district council representative, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire and a member of Healthwatch.
This follows the creation of the ICS now known as NHS Lincolnshire. ICS’s grew out of the Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships, which Lincolnshire County Council rejected in 2016, and see providers and commissioners of NHS services working closer together with an aim of integrating care across different organisations and settings.
Campaigners argued the move, which expands the current Health and Wellbeing Board to include a wider array of members, means the council now supports proposals from the health service that they rejected in 2016 — but the council denies this is the case.
Following Friday’s meeting, Councillor Martin Hill said: “The [ICS] is actually a very good idea and we have done that already in March.
“It is basically health and social care working together more seamlessly to actually do what really matters, the well being support we give to patients and the public.
“I think everybody would agree that health and social care need to work closely together for the benefit of patients.”
According to the government, its ICS plan will build on the former NHS Long Term Plans by removing barriers and red tape over integration and decision making and ensuring the system is more accountable.
Campaigners have concerns that the move covers the same plans as before under a different name and that there will not be accountability or transparency.
They have called for more clarity on the governments plans and prior to the meeting asked the council to defer the decision.
Councillor Hill, however, said: “Just because we’ve agreed to have this board where we will work together, which I think everybody would say is a good idea, doesn’t necessarily mean that we are then signing up to what proposals have been suggested in the past by the local NHS.”
He promised the council would continue to scrutinise proposals through its entirely separate health scrutiny committee.
Government and health bosses say that many of the initial controversial proposals have been dropped and have denied that the ICS developments could open the door to privatisation. Two judicial reviews against NHS England were dismissed.