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Integrated Care Systems


An Integrated Care System (ICS) brings together the NHS organisations, councils, and wider partners in a defined geographical area to deliver more joined-up approaches to improving health & care outcomes.

There are 42 ICSs in England, including Cheshire and Merseyside, which is the second largest in the Country.  From 1 July 2022 the Cheshire and Merseyside ICS will have legal status and will include a statutory Integrated Care Partnership (ICP), and a new NHS body called the Integrated Care Board (ICB). These are described in more detail below.


Integrated Care Board (ICB)

Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) will be established as new statutory organisations to lead integration within the NHS. The Cheshire and Merseyside ICB will have a unitary board and minimum requirements for board membership will be set in legislation.

The Integrated Care Board will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the NHS in Cheshire and Merseyside, including planning and buying healthcare services. The current functions of Cheshire and Merseyside’s 9 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will be transferred to the Integrated Care Board by 1 July 2022, following their closure.


Integrated Care Partnership (ICP)

The Integrated Care Partnership will provide a forum for NHS leaders and local authorities (LAs) to come together, as equal partners, alongside important stakeholders from across Cheshire and Merseyside.

Together, the ICP will generate an integrated care strategy to improve health and care outcomes and experiences for the people in Cheshire and Merseyside, for which all partners will be accountable. The ICP will be a dedicated forum to enhance relationships between the leaders across the health and care system, interact with and support the development of Place-Based Partnerships.

Place-Based Partnerships

The Cheshire and Merseyside ICB will arrange for some of its functions to be delivered, and decisions about NHS funding to be made, in the region’s 9 borough places – through Place-Based Partnerships.

The ICB will remain accountable for NHS resources deployed at borough place-level. Each ICB will set out the role of designated Place-based leaders within its governance arrangements.

Health and wellbeing boards (HWBs) will continue to develop the joint strategic needs assessment and joint health and wellbeing strategy, which both the ICP and ICB will give due regard.

Provider Collaboratives

Providers of health, care and support services will increasingly collaborate at all levels of the system. This is nothing new; there are some great examples of joined-up provider working, especially during the Covid pandemic. However, the current rules don’t always encourage provider collaboration.

There are two separate Provider Collaboratives for Cheshire & Merseyside.

  • The Cheshire and Merseyside Acute and Specialist Trust (CMAST)
  • Mental Health, Community, Learning Disability collaborative (MHLDSC)

Both will agree specific objectives with the ICB, to contribute to the delivery of Cheshire and Merseyside’s strategic priorities and are committed to working together to support the delivery of benefits of scale and mutual aid across multiple places or systems.


For more information, visit the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership website

The Health and Care Partnership has also developed a glossary of terms to support understanding of both new and existing terminology relating to integrated care, which is available here.