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Councillor labels Luton, Beds and Milton Keynes CCG merger as “sham consultation”

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A Luton councillor has labelled the merger of Luton, Beds and Milton Keynes CCGs as “sham consultation.”

It comes as bosses from the combined Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) CCG presented their report at a meeting of Luton Borough Council’s health and social care review group.

A local news report from the Milton Keynes Citizen explained that Labour South councillor David Agbley, who chairs the review group, appeared unimpressed.

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He told health bosses: “You’ve been to the other boroughs, and I know the Bedford mayor is saying he’s going to hold a referendum on this matter. It’s because he thinks you’re going to take away local decision-making.

“Milton Keynes are also saying the same thing that they don’t support this happening. If these elected people say they’re not going to support you and you want to carry on regardless, that means you’re doing a sham consultation.”

While director of performance and governance for the CCGs, Geraint Davies said: “We’re not formally consulting on the merger because it’s not a change in service. The views from Bedford Borough are a loss of localism with a potentially merged CCG, and that’s similar to the concerns from Milton Keynes.

“We’ve been to Central Bedfordshire as well. They wanted assurance around the local focus and how we engage with local partners. So, it’s not about a sham exercise at all. If we can’t address what colleagues have raised as concerns then the merger may not happen.”

Director of clinical transmission, Dr Nina Pearson said: “This is a national direction for NHS England. This is how transformation money flows into NHS offers to deliver for the needs of our population.

Adding: “There’s considerable opportunity that by working together, Luton, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes can secure very early on extra funding around mental health, diabetes, maternity care, primary care and development. We’ve been right at the front of queue to get that money. It’s only by working together we’ve achieved that. It’s about how you maximise the funding to meet the needs of our population.”

Director of primary care Nicky Poulain added: “It just saddens me when you say, ‘it’s a sham.’ We’ve been continuously with you on this journey.”

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Alex Douglas

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