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Health Inequalities and Health System Reform

Health Inequalities and Health System Reform: A new Integrated Care System to address health inequalities in NI 

Community Development and Health Network welcomes the announcement of the Department of Health targeted stakeholder consultation on their Future Planning for Health model and their Integrated Care System Framework. As part of this process, CDHN hosted a membership engagement event on 9 September where we gathered the views of our members.  

What is an Integrated Care System (ICS) Framework?

The Department of Health describe the proposed Integrated Care System (ICS) Framework as:

A collaborative partnership between organisations and individuals with a responsibility for planning, managing, and delivering sustainable care, services and interventions to meet the health and wellbeing needs of the local population. Through taking collective action, partnerships will deliver improved outcomes for individuals and communities, and reduce inequalities.

This key health care reform seeks to bring significant improvements to our health and social system, particularly the reorganisation of community and primary care and specialist services. The aim is to better meet the needs of the population, at both local and regional levels. Included in the model are proposed new decision-making structures to support intersectoral approaches with C&V sector, local government and other statutory partners, for the planning and delivery of health and social services. Some of our members will be aware of the intersectoral work of Integrated Care Partnerships at local level.

The new model is designed to improve better decision making and enhance health protection, prevention, and early detection outcomes, which would best treat people closer to home and take the pressure of acute hospital services and spiralling waiting lists.

Where can I get more information on the Future Planning for Health model?

For more information on what the model is all about, we recommend that you view this presentation on the Integrated Care System model here and watch this video. You should also attend one of the consultation events being organised by or on behalf of the Department of Health below:

Health system reform the evidence for NI

The need for change was spelt out in the Bengoa 'Systems not Structures' report and addressed in the Health & Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together Strategy.

If you want to know more about the background to the proposed new health service (ICS) model these documents below are useful.

Other relevant information

National Voices (C&V sector) response to NHS England’s consultation on their Integrated Care System Model (ICS) model may be useful. The NI model has similarities with the English model but is not the same.

The consultation closed on 17 September.

Read CDHN's consultation response here