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CCG mergers gather pace

The views of the public are being sought this month on a proposal to form one NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for Herefordshire and Worcestershire to replace the four current CCGs.

Four CCGs – South Worcestershire, Redditch & Bromsgrove, Wyre Forest, and Herefordshire - are planning to merge by April next year. The move was approved at a joint meeting at the end of May.

Simon Trickett, accountable officer for the Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCGs, which have been working together for some time, said: “All NHS organisations are required by NHS England to reduce their running costs by 20% by March 2020, which means finding a saving of nearly £2 million across Herefordshire and Worcestershire. By creating one single CCG, instead of the current four, we estimate that we can save the required £2 million.”

Between them, the four CCGs cover the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) area. The move will also support its move towards an integrated care system (ICS), he said. According to the NHS Long Term Plan, all of England is due to be covered by ICSs by 2021.

In North West London a ‘Case for Change’ paper is proposing the merger of the eight CCGs in the area by no later than April 2021. The eight CCGs planning to merge are Brent, Central London (Westminster), Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow; and West London.

The group, which covers a population of 2.2 million people, has been meeting as a joint committee since December 2018. At the end of financial year 2018/19 the eight CCGs had collectively overspent their budgets by £56.7m.

It has also been reported that the six CCGs that make up the South West London STP are also planning to merge by March 2020. The CCGs involved are Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton, and Wandsworth.

In the West Midlands the boards of Coventry & Rugby, Warwickshire North, and South Warwickshire CCGs are proposing to merge following a meeting on May 22, and will now take the proposal to a public vote. If agreed, the CCGs could merge by April 2020.

Coventry & Rugby and Warwickshire North CCGs have worked together since April 2017, but South Warwickshire has, until now, remained separate.

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