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CHC – How the new RIF works

The way integrated care is funded in Wales is changing. Sarah Scotcher explains what this means for the Welsh housing sector.

Those working in housing, health or social care in Wales will no doubt be familiar with the Integrated Care Fund (ICF) and the Transformation Fund (TF), which tested and developed key models of integrated care.

While the ICF and TF enabled some much-needed change to the delivery of health and social care services, more was needed to ensure people across Wales were getting the right support at the right time. Community Housing Cymru and housing associations engaged with the Welsh government as they prepared to take the next step in the integration of these services.

From 1 April 2022, these funds have been replaced by a new five-year Regional Integration Fund (RIF) with an annual investment of £144 million. As before, the fund will be distributed by Wales’ seven Regional Partnership Boards (RPBs).

For Wales’ housing associations, many of whom provide care and/or support services, the RIF offers further opportunity to engage with their respective RPBs and deliver projects that improve the health and wellbeing of their residents and communities.

The RIF will develop six new national integrated models of care – including community-based care, home from hospital and accommodation-based solutions – and will build on the progress made by the ICF and TF. The intention is to embed the models of care into core services whilst allowing space for the development of new ones.

The new RIF aims to learn lessons from previous ICF and TF projects, and to move from a pilot approach to the mainstreaming of the models of care. A key feature is new funding architecture that embeds sustainable investment for these models, relying on partners to bring forward match funds.

Communities of Practice (CoPs) will be established to support partners and share learning as the new models of care are developed. These CoPs will include third sector and delivery partners, including housing associations.

For more information, go to gov.wales/health-and-social-care-regional-integration-fund

Sarah Scotcher is policy and external affairs manager at Community Housing Cymru

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