Frequently asked questions about Our Dorset integrated health system, and what it means for the people of Dorset.


Our Dorset is the name of our integrated care system (ICS).

Integrated care is about removing traditional barriers between services so people can access the support and care they need when they need it. An ICS brings NHS organisations, councils, public services and voluntary and community partners together to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone in their area.

Dorset became one of England’s first pilot ICSs in 2018, and this way of working is now being replicated across the country.

Read more about Our Dorset.

Download more info on Our Dorset.

Watch a video on Dorset’s ICS, ICB and ICP.

NHS Dorset is the name of our integrated care board (ICB).

Working with partners from the integrated care system, and ICB will agree how money will be spent based on what local people and communities need. In July 2022, NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), including Dorset CCG, will cease operating and be replaced by ICBs.

Watch a video on Dorset’s ICS, ICB and ICP.

Dorset Health and Care Partnership is the name of our integrated health partnership (ICP).

An ICP provides a forum for NHS leaders and local authorities to come together, as equal partners, with important stakeholders from across Dorset’s integrated care system (ICS), including representatives from the voluntary sector.

Read more about Dorset Health and Care Partnership.

Watch a video on Dorset’s ICS, ICB and ICP.

The four key purposes of an ICS are outlined in the guidance document from NHS England and NHS Improvement. These are:

  • improving population health and healthcare
  • tackling unequal outcomes and access
  • enhancing productivity and value for money
  • helping the NHS to support broader social and economic development

Download more info about Our Dorset

Integrated care systems and the health and care bill

The health and care bill outlines all the proposed changes to the way health services and social care services will run, once ICSs come into being. The bill will bring ICSs into law from July 2022 if it goes through parliament successfully, which it is expected to.

The bill and the changes it brings are supported widely across the health service.

Many of the changes in the health and care bill, which will see ICSs legally created in July 2022, came from NHS England and NHS Improvement, based on wide consultation with a range of other health and care partners. In most part, the proposals set out in the bill represent legislation catching up with what has already been happening for years within health and care across the NHS, local authorities and the community and voluntary sector around the country including here in Dorset. Working in an integrated way will improve patient care and help to remove barriers to care.

ICSs becoming formalised in July 2022 is not the end of the journey. Many areas of the country, including Dorset, are already working in integrated ways, and this has proven particularly successful during the pandemic when services had to work differently. It does add significant additional pressure on an NHS already under strain from COVID-19, the elective care backlog and workforce strategies, which is why July is just the starting point and health and care services will develop from there. But there is still a long way to go. ICSs have a long-term vision to improve population health; address health inequalities; and join-up planning, policies and delivery of care and support, to provide better services and better outcomes for people.

Benefits of integrated care

The purpose of integrating health and care services is to benefit people and to improve care, and there are many examples of this working well already, across the country.

People often have multiple health needs and end up needing support from a variety of services. Working in a collaborative and co-ordinated way will help to make the service more person-centred. Currently, the NHS and care services are organised as lots of separate organisations working autonomously. Our Dorset provides a partnership structure, allowing all these organisations to work together to help to improve the health and wellbeing of the public across the county.

Download more info on Our Dorset

Working with local people

Our Dorset will have an integrated care board (NHS Dorset) and an integrated care partnership (Dorset Health and Care Partnership), and a key determinant of success will be the relationship between the two. There should be clear lines of accountability and a clear relationship between the two bodies. It also needs to be clear how these two bodies will relate to the existing health and wellbeing boards in Dorset.