Three CCGs to merge in effort to 'eliminate administrative burden'

PUBLISHED: 15:58 08 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:03 08 November 2017

The Healthy Weston vision is now open for consultation.

The Healthy Weston vision is now open for consultation.

Archant

NHS England has given the green light for three major health organisations to merge.

A single clinical commissioning group (CCG) will operate across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire from April 1, as opposed to the three-district setup which operates presently.

The move was proposed to ‘eliminate the administrative burden that comes from running three statutory organisations’.

It means one body will be responsible for choosing which health organisations – such as Clevedon’s North Somerset Community Hospital – provide which services.

Dr Mary Backhouse, clinical chairman of North Somerset CCG, believes the merger is good news for patients.

She said: “I am delighted NHS England has supported our merger proposal, which will benefit local patients as well as the wider health and care system.

“We will now begin the detailed work of preparing for the merger and look forward to launching the new organisation from April.”

Since proposing the idea of a merger in August, engagement with local stakeholders has been held, and the plan was put to the CCG’s GP member practices in September. Members voted in support of the proposal and a formal application to merge was submitted to NHS England.

This has now been approved, subject to a few minor tweaks.

The CCGs say anticipated benefits of the changes include a stronger commissioning and clinical leadership role for the new CCG.

They believe having a single budget and commissioning strategy will lead to a more consistent service for patients across the South West, as well as more efficient and joined-up use of the three CCGs’ resources.

From April, the new-look CCG will be in charge of providing health services for almost one million patients.

Dr Martin Jones, Bristol CCG’s clinical chairman, said the move was a ‘logical’ step forward.

His South Gloucestershire counterpart, Dr Jonathan Hayes added: “I welcome this announcement and look forward to the launch of the merged organisation next year.

“Although we already work very closely together, with a single chief executive and executive team, merger will give new impetus to our work to transform and improve services on behalf of patients.”

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