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Health Policy

Integrated Care Systems and tobacco control: improving outcomes in population health and healthcare

Jun 2023
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This report sets out the findings from a survey of Integrated Care
Boards and a content analysis of Integrated Care Strategies.

Summary of key findings

  • Tobacco control was perceived by survey respondents to be an above average or high priority in 14 of the 29 surveyed Integrated Care Boards (ICBs)
  • 31% of survey respondents were not confident that tobacco dependence treatment services would be fully implemented in acute and mental health hospitals in their Integrated Care System (ICS) area by March 2024.
  • The implementation of tobacco dependence treatment services has been enabled by dedicated funding, strong partnerships, ICB and clinical leadership, local government leadership and support, regional support, leads within NHS trusts, and dedicated managers.
  • The implementation of tobacco dependence treatment services has been inhibited by funding limitations and long-term financial uncertainty, competing priorities and lack of capacity, problems recruiting staff, IT and reporting differences across the system, and COVID-19.
  • Of the 32 publicly available integrated care strategies assessed in March 2023, 15 included goals or ambitions specifically focused on smoking, of which 4 also had defined outcome targets.
  • Inequalities were being addressed by surveyed ICBs in a variety of ways: nine ICBs had specific inequalities strategies while others had included inequalities in their integrated care strategy, or other corporate documents or mechanisms.
  • The commitment of ICBs to wider tobacco control and the prevention of smoking is diverse. Some ICBs have detailed plans and mechanisms in place while others remain focused on the implementation of tobacco dependence treatment services.