A proposed Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) merger has been rejected due to too few CCGs being involved.
The Health Service Journal (HSJ) reports that a proposed merger of four Merseyside CCGs (covering Liverpool, Knowsley, South Sefton and Southport and Formby) has been rejected. NHS England has responded to the proposal by saying the new CCG would need to include Cheshire too, so that one CCG covered a whole integrated care system (ICS).
The resulting Cheshire and Merseyside system would have a population of 2.7 million people and incorporate nine current CCGs. This would be one of the largest systems in the country.
Ambiguity in policy had led service leaders to believe that smaller-scale mergers would be acceptable. This decision implies that this interpretation is now considered to be wrong, and remaining CCGs will need to align with the 42 local health systems in mergers.
“Some of the CCGs in Cheshire and Merseyside, such as Warrington and Halton, had struggled to persuade their member practices or local councils to even support a two-way merger. It is unclear what would happen if the move for a single CCG is heavily opposed by practices and councils.
“NHS Clinical Commissioners, which represents CCGs nationally, has previously said mergers should be decided locally and that one CCG per system is ‘not the right answer in all circumstances’.”
Read the HSJ article for more details.