New integrated health authority for Bedfordshire and MK launched today

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NHS

A new health authority covering Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes has been formally created today (Friday 1 July).

The NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board (ICB) has become a statutory organisation and held its first meeting in public.

The ICB replaces the BLMK Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which was launched in 2012, with three separate governing bodies for Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes. These were amalgamated in April 2021.

The new organisation brings together health and care groups, including the NHS and local authorities, with an ambition to help people live longer lives in good health, said an ICB spokesman.

“It will be responsible for working with the councils, other NHS organisations and the voluntary sector to support residents over what matters most to them.

“This means giving residents the best start in life, helping them to live and age well, and assisting people back to work, so that we tackle the issues which lead to poor health, such as homelessness, deprivation and where people live.”

ICB chair designate Rima Makarem told the meeting: “I’m hoping this is the beginning of some really good work together.

“Today (Fri 1st) we need to formally approve all the documents and all the work which has been going on during the last few months,” she explained.

“Members of the public must think this has passed through quickly, but actually it’s been months and months of discussion and evolution.

“The establishment of the ICB is a real opportunity. It brings together organisations which are ambitious for the health and wellbeing of people who live in our area.

“By working with local residents to deliver services they need, we can make a difference to their long-term health.”

A 100-day action plan was shared with all ICB staff during the meeting.

ICB chief executive Felicity Cox said in a statement: “We’ve been working with partners, including the councils, for many years now and this strengthened through the pandemic.

“But the establishment of the ICB gives us the opportunity to work more closely than ever, so we can tackle health inequalities and improve the care people get locally.

“For most people, the change of organisation won’t mean any changes. People will still access services in the same way.

“It does mean that as the organisation establishes, residents will see an improvement in the integration of health and care services which are available locally.

“We’ve been working hard to ensure that the transition from CCG to ICB is as smooth as possible.”

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

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