A MAJOR reorganisation of the NHS across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire will see just one representative from six councils being given a seat at the top table.

There is widespread concern that the incoming Humber, Coast and Vale Integrated Care System (ICS) will not be able to represent the diverse populations of York, North Yorkshire, the East Riding, Hull, North East Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire, according to Sharon Stoltz, York’s director of public health.

She said each council needed to be represented on the ICS board, which will effectively run the NHS day-to day for 1.7 million people.

ICSs are partnerships that bring together providers and commissioners of NHS services across a geographical area with local authorities and other partners to plan health and care services.

They are set to replace the current Clinical Commissioning Group system by April 2022.

It’s part of a shift in the way the health system is organised that aims to decrease competition within the system and promote collaboration across different organisations and settings, joining up hospital and community-based services, physical and mental health, and health and social care.

Ms Stoltz told a meeting of York’s health and wellbeing board: “The council at the moment isn’t happy with the proposed makeup of the integrated care board.

“We feel that there is insufficient local authority representation on that board and I understand that’s a view shared by the other six local authorities and that there will be further discussions with the ICS around that.”

The council has submitted comments on the regional ICS draft constitution in the hope of changing its makeup. 

Ms Stoltz added: “We feel it’s impossible for one local authority representative to represent all six places and therefore our view is that all six local authorities should have representation on the board.”

Councillor Janet Looker said: “One of the problems we have with this particular reform is that it is trying to cover such a diverse and extraordinary geographical area.

“When you look at Hull, North Yorkshire, let alone York, I think the challenge is absolutely outrageous and we do need some better comprehension of the sheer scale of this venture.”

Health and wellbeing board chair councillor Carol Runciman added: “I think we’re so diverse in Yorkshire and the Humber that trying to get one person to represent all six areas is really not possible and we’ll be saying that very strongly.”

West Yorkshire has taken a different approach on its ICS board, having one representative from each local authority.

The NHS has said of the ICS approach: “An important part of our vision is that decisions about how services are arranged should be made as closely as possible to those who use them. 

“For most people their day-to-day health and care needs will be met locally in the town or district where they live or work. 

“Partnership in these ‘places’ is therefore an important building block of integration, often in line with long-established local authority boundaries.”