What is St Helens Cares?

St Helens Cares was launched in 2018 to address the rising cost and demand in health and social care, and is an integrated, local health and social care partnership for all ages.

How does St Helens Cares fit with NHS Cheshire and Merseyside

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) were organisations responsible for achieving the best possible health outcomes for their population – through deciding their priorities and then buying services from providers such as hospitals, clinics, community health bodies etc.

When CCGs closed down on 1st July 2022, all their duties and functions were taken on by newly formed Integrated Care Boards (ICBs), which play a key role within identified Integrated Care Systems (ICS) across the country.

ICBs now have responsibility in deciding priorities for it's area and buying the relevant services.  St Helens forms part of the NHS Cheshire & Merseyside ICB, which has responsibility for buying in services for the whole of Cheshire and Merseyside from a single pot of funding (bringing together former CCG commissioning budgets and primary care budgets along with other funding allocated to individual CCG areas).

To successfully carry out this duty, NHS Cheshire and Merseyside ICB has arranged for some of its functions to be delivered and decisions about NHS funding to be made at a place level, across the regions nine ‘places’ – this is done through approved Place Based Partnerships; in St Helens this is our St Helens Cares model.

Although NHS C&M ICB retains overall accountability for NHS resources deployed at ‘place’ levels, place-based partnerships led by Place Directors have freedom to design and deliver services according to local need.

St Helens Cares is not a statutory organisation or a legal entity, but a range of partners (NHS providers, St Helens Borough Council, Torus Housing, the voluntary sector, police, fire, probation service) working together to design and deliver services locally – this has involved joining up services to help manage demand and improve people's outcomes in St Helens.  Staff who originally worked for CCGs e.g. in commissioning roles continue this work at ‘place’, but where relevant, in a joined up way with the other nine places within Cheshire & Merseyside to benefit from new opportunities, innovations and economies of scale.

St Helens Cares is our formal way of working in St Helens with all the partners signed up through a Memorandum of Understanding and decisions being made through our Place Partnership Board.  NHS C&M ICB members also make up the membership of Place Partnership Boards, to ensure oversight and aligned priorities.

Summary of an Integrated Care System (ICS)

An integrated care system is made up of a number of statutory components:

Integrated Care Partnership (ICP)

A statutory committee jointly formed between the NHS integrated care board and all upper-tier local authorities that fall within the ICS area. The ICP will bring together a broad alliance of partners concerned with improving the care, health and wellbeing of the population, with membership determined locally. The ICP is responsible for producing an integrated care strategy on how to meet the health and wellbeing needs of the population in the ICS area.  In Cheshire & Merseyside our ICP is called the 'Health Care Partnership' (HCP) - further information can be found here.

Integrated care board (ICB)

A statutory NHS organisation responsible for developing a plan for meeting the health needs of the population, managing the NHS budget and arranging for the provision of health services in the ICS area. The establishment of ICBs resulted in clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) being closed down.  In Cheshire & Merseyside our ICB is NHS C&M ICB, and further information can be found here.

Local authorities

Local authorities in the ICS area are responsible for social care and public health functions as well as other vital services for local people and businesses.  Within Cheshire & Merseyside there are 9 Local Authorities, including St Helens.

Place-based partnerships

Within each ICS, place-based partnerships will lead the detailed design and delivery of integrated services across their localities and neighbourhoods. The partnerships will involve the NHS, local councils, community and voluntary organisations, local residents, people who use services, their carers and representatives and other community partners with a role in supporting the health and wellbeing of the population.  Within Cheshire & Merseyside there are 9 Place Based Partnership arrangements, including St Helens.

Provider collaboratives

Provider collaboratives will bring providers together to achieve the benefits of working at scale across multiple places and one or more ICSs, to improve quality, efficiency and outcomes and address unwarranted variation and inequalities in access and experience across different providers. In Cheshire and Merseyside, there are two provider collaboratives:

  • Cheshire & Merseyside Acute and Specialist Trust (CMAST)

  • Mental Health, Community & Learning Disability Collaborative (MHLDSC)

Further information can be found here.


Our St Helens Cares Vision


One place, one system, one ambition. Improving people's lives in St Helens together

The St Helens Cares Place Partnership Board is made up of leaders from the organisations mentioned above and meets monthly to focus on the key priorities and goals to be achieved by 2027:

Mental Wellbeing

  • Prevention and reduction of self-harm and suicide

  • Reducing Social Isolation and Loneliness

  • Improve wellbeing of children and young people

  • Expand CVS capacity to support mental health and wellbeing

Healthy Weight

  • Support healthy eating choices in the Borough

  • Encourage residents to lead a more active life

  • Reduce diabetes prevalence

Care Communities

  • Connecting and utilise the whole of the healthcare and social support services in St Helens Borough, including VCSFE services

  • Sufficient processes for seamlessly sharing of information

  • Fully understanding all the needs of the person

  • Supporting people with complex- health needs

  • Empowering, enabling and supporting people to ‘self-care first’


  • Implementing Marmot - a focus on giving every child the best start in life

  • Responding to the cost of living crisis food poverty

  • Responding to the cost of living crisis fuel poverty