The NHS Long Term Plan’s emphasis upon integrated care and reduced costs has seen several CCGs enter into merger proposals, with seven West Midlands CCGs planning to merge into two CCGs by April 2020.
Seven Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the West Midlands have announced plans to merge into two CCGs to cover their relevant Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) areas by April 2020.
This will help to progress the vision in the NHS Long Term Plan to roll out Integrated Care Systems (ICS) with a single CCG across the whole of England by 2021, and to meet the requirement that CCGs reduce administration costs by 20% by 2020/21.
South Worcestershire, Redditch and Bromsgrove, Wyre Forest, and Herefordshire CCGs plan to merge, which will save around £2m annually. They have been exploring this move since late 2017, with a spokesman commenting that:
‘Becoming a larger organisation will provide us with much greater resilience as well as providing a single, strong and consistent vision and voice to partners across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.’
Similarly Coventry and Rugby, Warwickshire North, and South Warwickshire CCGs have agreed to merge but await confirmation from GP members, a move foreshadowed by the shared management of Coventry and Rugby and Warwickshire North CCGs since April 2017. A source revealed that these plans have not been wholly well-received:
‘[There has been] some scepticism that it would work this time around, particularly when it came to integrating the health and social care agenda, finances and accountability.’
The potential benefits of these mergers are:
- Increased integration and symbiosis of priorities
- Improved relationships and collaboration across STPs
- Reduced duplication of roles and governance
- Reduced variation in care outcomes
These developments reflect a wider trend of CCG mergers, with seven Sussex CCGs announcing plans to merge in a May 2019 announcement.
For further information, read the Health Service Journal’s article here.