Integrated care systems and equity:prospects and plans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – Policies on integrated care have waxed and waned over time in the English health and care sectors,
culminating in the creation of 42 integrated care systems (ICSs) which were confirmed in law in July 2022. One
of the four fundamental purposes of ICSs is to tackle health inequalities. This paper reports on the content of the
overarching ICS plans in order to explore how they focus on health inequalities and the strategies they intend to
employ to make progress. It explores how the integrated approach of ICSs may help to facilitate progress on
Design/methodology/approach – The analysis is based on a sample of 23 ICS strategic plans using a
framework to extract relevant information on health inequalities.
Findings – The place-based nature of ICSs and the focus on working across traditional health and care
boundaries with non-health partners gives the potential for them to tackle not only the inequalities in access to
healthcare services, but also to address health behaviours and the wider social determinants of health
inequalities. The plans reveal a commitment to addressing all three of these issues, although there is variation
in their approach to tackling the wider social determinants of health and inequalities.
Originality/value – This study adds to our knowledge of the strategic importance assigned by the new ICSs
to tackling health inequalities and illustrates the ways in which features of integrated care can facilitate
progress in an area of prime importance to society
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-42
JournalJournal of Integrated Care
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

© Maria Goddard.

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