Bedford Borough Council has declared its position against the merger of local Clinical Commissioning Groups.
A merger between the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes had been proposed to comply with national Government policy to ‘streamline’ commissioning.
As reported by the Bedford Independent, the position was agreed following a presentation on the project to merge the bodies responsible for planning and commissioning local healthcare services and Mayor Dave Hodgson has called for a public consultation.
The mayor stated his opposition to the plans and said that while a consultation may not legally be required, he is calling for one because local people deserve to have a real say on the matter.
The report went on to detail that several executive members raised concerns over the impact of more remote decision-making on healthcare services in Bedford.
It is worried that the merger would become less responsive to local communities.
Cllr Louise Jackson, portfolio holder for public health and wellbeing, said: “I am disappointed that NHS England have directed CCGs to merge – and it’s not just Bedfordshire CCG, this is a big reconfiguration of commissioning structures up and down the country.”
Adding: “This rearranging of deck chairs has been happening at least since I was first elected as a Councillor in 2011. It’s difficult to see what formally merging will achieve, especially at this difficult time – the CCG was already working closely with neighbouring commissioners.
“People just want to be able to access good, local healthcare services. It’s vital that the Bedford Borough focus is not lost in the new larger structure and I am committed to building on the relationships I have with local CCG colleagues to ensure that the interests of Borough residents remain at the forefront.”
Members of the public can read the CCG’s report to Bedford Borough Council’s Executive at Item 7 on the agenda, and watch a video recording of the meeting here.