The four Clinical Commissioning Groups in the Black Country and West Birmingham – Dudley, Sandwell & West Birmingham, Walsall and Wolverhampton – are proposing to merge to create one CCG.
To ensure that all stakeholders can feedback on the proposals, it has launched a series of formal conversations to allow people to share views about the plans.
The CCGs have already started working together and aligning teams and committees and now share a senior leadership team, headed up by a single Chief Executive, Paul Maubach.
The statement announcing the news, reads: “We are proposing this merger as we believe it is the best way for the CCGs to deliver on its commitments to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of the Black Country and West Birmingham.
“Local relationships and clinical leadership are central components to the way in which the CCGs work and this will be retained through place based teams in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, West Birmingham and Wolverhampton. A merge would also reduce organisational running costs, which would be better spent on supporting local healthcare services.”
Currently, four Governing Bodies oversee the work of the CCGs which include representation from GPs, nurses, secondary care doctors, managers and system partners.
The statement continued: “After much discussion, and two listening exercises, the Governing Bodies have indicated a preference to merge fully because they believe that the benefits of doing so would be much greater than staying as we are today.
“However, we want to assure you that no decisions have been taken and all four CCGs are keen to listen to the views of member practice GPs, partners, patient representatives and other key stakeholders.”
A decision about future commissioning arrangements will be determined by a vote of the GP Members after all feedback has been considered.
If there is support then an application would be submitted to NHS England and Improvement for a final decision and if successful, means the merger would be effective from April 1, 2021.
Paul Maubach, chief accountable officer, said: “Our Governing Bodies recognise the benefits of a single team and a single merged CCG to improve our ability to support the health and wellbeing of people in the Black Country and West Birmingham.”
Concluding: “I want to reassure you that whatever a future commissioning organisation might look like, our decision-making will continue to be clinically-led and we will remain committed to the relationships which we hold in each of the five places we serve.”