NEWS that Frimley Health and Care ICS won’t be changed has been welcomed by Bracknell MP James Sunderland.
Earlier this year, the government announced plans to shake-up the clinical commissioning group. These oversee NHS services in localities, including primary care, GP surgeries, hospitals, specialist care and care homes.
The new system planned to replace it would have a role similar to health authorities last seen in the 1980s.
The shake-up was announced by previous health secretary Matt Hancock, who said: “This is how we put the power of the NHS budget behind the prevention agenda: by empowering the ICS locally to support the integration of NHS and local authority responsibilities to promote good health and give them the space to work together to deliver on that promise.”
While full details of the revised structures have yet to be announced, Mr Sunderland said that his campaign, carried out with other local MPs including Theresa May and Slough’s Tanmanheet Singh Dhesi, had paid off, and he had been told by new health secretary Sajid Javid that the set-up will remain the same.
Mr Javid is currently isolating after contracting the coronavirus, but as his symptoms are mild he has been able to carry on working.
“We learned a few months ago that there was a plan being put together by the department for health for the NHS to be restructured along county boundaries,” he said. This placed Frimley Park ICS (Integrated Care Systems) at risk of being broken up, something that Mr Sunderland said would have been “to the detriment of local people, people that I serve in Bracknell in particular”.
“Theresa May and I got together with Adam Afriyie, and with Tan Dhesi, a Labour colleague, but very much part of the team,” he continued.
“We lobbied very hard over a period of time, we met with the new Secretary of State about two weeks ago in his office.
“We pointed out that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
“This morning, he sent me a message saying that he’d made the decision for Frimley ICS’ status quo to remain, which I think is brilliant news.”
He felt that constituents had access to “fantastic primary care services, fantastic GP surgeries”.
And part of this access was being able to use the services of Frimley Park, “one of the best hospitals in the country”, as well as Wexham Park and Heatherwood hospitals.
Mr Sunderland added: “We’ve got some of the best health care facilities anywhere in the country, on our doorstep. Why break it up?
“I’m thrilled with the outcome. I’m delighted that common sense has prevailed and that from the ICS lives on.”