There’s a change happening in the world of Clinical Commissioning Groups across the country, and if there isn’t, there has almost certainly been talks about a change.
A number of the CCGs are looking to merge in order to streamline and better their services, but people at local level are worried that the service will actually deteriorate due to the lack of local knowledge.
In an ever-changing market sector, AMP keeps you up to date.
Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) were created following the Health and Social Care Act in 2012, and replaced Primary Care Trusts on 1 April 2013.
They are clinically-led statutory NHS bodies responsible for the planning and commissioning of health care services for their local area. As of 1 April 2019 there were 191 CCGs in England.
However, this could soon change with a number of proposed mergers across the country which are looking to streamline the commissioning process have been accepted.
The mergers mean the localised CCGs will form larger and singular group in a bid to simplify the process while still offering the best service to the local people as possible.
These proposals have been met with some criticism in certain parts of the country, with some members of the public citing fears that the service will become less localised and therefore hyperlocal issues will not be served with as much knowledge, together with good judgement, like at present.
The NHS says commissioning is about getting the best possible health outcomes for the local population which involves assessing local needs, deciding priorities and strategies, and then buying services on behalf of the population from providers such as hospitals, clinics, community health bodies and so on.
It explains how providing this service is an ongoing process and reaffirms that CCGs must constantly respond and adapt to changing local circumstances. They are responsible for the health of their entire population, and measured by how much they improve outcomes.
Last month, AMP covered the merger issue and put together a report which weighed up the different merger stories from up and down the country.
This month, as always seems to be the case with this market sector, a lot has continued to change.
Health bosses at the Berkshire West CCG took a vote on a single accountable officer plan which means healthcare in the Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire region could soon be managed by a single chief officer after CCG merger proposals.
Voting soon on merger plans, the news came after the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care System (BOB ICS) announced proposals in September to change the way NHS services are planned and funded in Reading, Wokingham, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire too.
Now, according to a report from the Reading Chronicle, the CCG merger plans have been revealed following a public consultation.
The same report outlined the three proposals which set out the appointment a single accountable officer and designing a shared management team for the three CCGs, the creation of stronger Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs) for all three areas and the creation of a single CCG for the three areas.
Plans to merge the three CCGs and develop the ICPs will be considered in the next financial year.
Additionally, news emerging later in the month detailed how the four CCGs in Lincolnshire look set to merge as of April, this year.
A move has been ‘agreed in principle’ with national officials for the county’s four CCGs to become a single accountable organisation.
A report in local news site, the Lincolnite, detailed how last May commissioners announced that the “time was right” for a single organisation to be formed to better serve the public. The county currently has four CCGs which include Lincolnshire West, Lincolnshire East, South Lincolnshire and South West Lincolnshire as separate bodies.
The same report goes on to detail how the groups look set to merge together into a new commissioning body which would come into effect from April 1.
John Turner, chief officer for the four CCGs, said the organisations would now work to establish the new body. Turner was appointed to his position back in April 2019 in a move to help the organisations “work closely for the benefit of patients”.
He said: “We can confirm that NHS England and Improvement has agreed in principle to the proposed merger of Lincolnshire West, Lincolnshire East, South Lincolnshire and South West Lincolnshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), with a new Lincolnshire CCG to be established with effect from 1 April 2020.”
Adding: “We will continue to work hard to ensure the new CCG is properly established so it can deliver benefits for people all across the Lincolnshire region.”
Under the plan, the four CCGs would merge to become the single NHS Lincolnshire CCG.