NHS England’s 2022/23 priorities and operational planning guidance published

On 24 December, NHS England published its 2022/23 priorities and operational planning guidance which sets out objectives and priorities for the year ahead.

A new target date of 1 July 2022 has been agreed for statutory arrangements to take effect and ICBs (Integrated Care Boards) to be legally and operationally established.

As well as continuing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a strong focus on tackling health inequalities and access, improving outcomes in population health, preventing ill-health, and supporting broader social and economic development.

Priorities for 2022/2023 include:

  • Investing in the workforce
  • Responding to COVID-19 more effectively
  • Delivering significantly more elective care to tackle the elective backlog
  • Improving the responsiveness of urgent and emergency care
  • Improving timely access to primary care
  • Improving mental health services and services for people with a learning disability and/or autistic people
  • Continuing to develop the approach to population health management, prevent ill health and address health inequalities
  • Using digital technologies to transform the delivery of care and patient outcomes and making the most effective use of resources 
  • Establishing ICBs and collaborative system working

For children and young people, the key priorities include:

  • Tackling health inequalities by building on the Core20PLUS5 approach introduced in 2021/22 to support the reduction of health inequalities experienced by children and young people, at both the national and system level.
  • Drawing up delivery plans across elective inpatient, outpatient and diagnostic services for adults and children (including specialised services) for April 2022 to March 2023.
  • Putting in place integrated health and care plans for children and young people’s services that include a focus on urgent care; building on learning from pilots placing paediatric staff within NHS 111 services; better connections between paediatric health services; joining up children’s services across the NHS and local authorities; improving transitions to adult services; and supporting young people with physical and mental health needs within acute and urgent care settings.
  • Continuing to grow and expand specialist care and treatment for infants, children, and young people by increasing the support provided through specialist perinatal teams for infants and their parents up to 24 months. 
  • Continuing to expand access to children and young people’s mental health services. PCNs and mental health trusts are asked to continue to use the mental health practitioner ARRS (Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme) roles to improve the care and treatment for adults, children and young people.
  • Continuing to improve the accuracy of GP learning disability registers so that the identification and coding of patients is complete, particularly for children and young people. 
  • Maintaining a strong commitment to reducing reliance on inpatient care for both adults and children with a learning disability and/or who are autistic, consistent with the ambition set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, and to develop community services to support admission avoidance and timely discharge. This includes access to community mental health services; support for autistic children and young people and their families; and access to the right support and housing. 
  • Focusing preventative services on socio-economically deprived populations and certain ethnic minority groups with a particular focus on obesity, which has seen a major increase in children during the pandemic, especially in the least well off.

Further information:

NHS England 2022/23 priorities and operational planning guidance