Three West Country CCGs to merge next year

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Plans to merge the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCGs have been given the go-ahead by NHS England, meaning that the three commissioning groups are set to become a single organisation from 1 April 2018.

The proposal to merge was strongly supported by NHS England as a logical next step in the creation of a strong, single commissioner for the BNSSG area. It is hoped services will be made more consistent and efficient.

The new organisation will cover the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire areas and will be based on a strengthened locality structure, reflecting the natural communities of GPs and their patients across the local area.

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Clinical chair for Bristol CCG, Dr Martin Jones, said that the merger is a logical progression that will help to create a stronger single commissioning voice “better able to deliver the resilient, sustainable NHS services that local patients need”.

Each CCG will now begin detailed work to prepare for the merger. It is hoped that having a single chief executive and executive team will give new impetus to the groups’ work to transform and improve services.

Plans for a merger of the three CCGs were first proposed in August this year and following engagement with local stakeholders and support from the CCG’s Governing Bodies, a proposal was put to the CCG’s GP member practices in September.

Members voted overwhelmingly in support of the proposal and a formal application to merge was then submitted to NHS England.

Anticipated benefits of the merger include a stronger commissioning and clinical leadership role for the new CCG, with a single budget and commissioning strategy supporting the CCGs’ work to drive forward the new care models.

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Joe Peskett

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