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Lancashire NHS commits to local level decision making ahead of merger plans

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The NHS in Lancashire has committed to ensuring decisions are still made at a local level ahead of a potential merger move.

Potential plans suggest the eight NHS organisations that currently design health services for different parts of Lancashire could merge into a single body for the whole of the county.

A report in the Lancashire Telegraph detailed how under the proposals, a pan-regional CCG would be created.

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This would work alongside five new locality commissioning teams covering the same areas as the county’s existing integrated care partnerships (ICPs) between health and social care organisations.

The Lancashire Telegraph report went on to explain how Dr. Amanda Doyle, chief officer of the Lancashire and South Cumbria integrated care system, said that the proposed move was “not about centralisation, but avoiding duplication” of administrative functions.

Speaking at Lancashire County Council’s health scrutiny committee, she said: “The CCG might also commission services across larger footprints For very specialist services that treat complex and serious illness, we have to make consistent decisions.”

Adding: “But most primary and community services will continue to be planned and delivered in local places.  Most of the things GPs want to influence – local care pathways, priorities for local patients and the things where different parts of the patch have different levels of need and demand – will still happen locally.”

Committee member David Whipp said he feared a “the lowest common denominator” approach would result from the proposed set-up, as well as a loss of power for GPs.

A consultation has now begun with the existing CCGs, whose memberships are made up of GP practices from the areas they serve.

Each of the eight would have to agree to the changes before they could be introduced – and a vote on the issue is expected in May.

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Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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