The lengthy process of merging the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) for Wiltshire, Swindon and Bath & North-East Somerset is nearly complete – it now just needs to be signed off by the two central NHS organisations they answer to.
Set up in 2012 by the Coalition government’s Health and Social Care Act, CCGs play a central role in the NHS. They hold the budgets for their area and can make decisions as to how the money is spent within their areas.
The Act’s purpose was to put clinicians in charge of the money at a local level. So each CCG is made up of member GP practices – essentially all the GPs in their area – and GPs make up the majority of voting members on each CCG’s governing board.
Last week the results of a vote on the merger policy was announced – each GP practice had one vote. Marlborough.news has now learned the full breakdown of the vote – all three CCGs were in favour of the merger.
In Bath & North-East Somerset (known as BaNES) 18 of the 24 practices voted – sixteen voted ‘yes’ (in favour of the merger) and two voted ‘no’ (to reject the merger).
In Swindon 16 of the 23 practices voted – fourteen voted ‘yes’ and two voted ‘no’.
In Wiltshire 39 of the 47 practices voted – 26 voted ‘yes’ and 13 voted ‘no’.
Tracey Cox, Chief Executive of BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire CCGs has issued this statement:
“Following the outcome of a positive vote by GP member practices across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire in favour of applying to NHS England/Improvement to merge the three CCGs into one single Clinical Commissioning Group, I can confirm that our application submission has now been approved by our three CCG Governing Bodies.”
“Our submission document will now be sent to NHS England/Improvement for final approval and we anticipate confirmation of their decision in mid-October.”
“Following approval of our application by NHS England/Improvement, we will follow a mobilisation programme to formally become NHS BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group on 1 April 2020.”
“We believe this positive endorsement by our GP member practices and CCG Boards is a significant step forwards which will create a new organisation with benefits for patients, our staff and our GP members.”
“CCGs up and down the country have either already merged or are beginning plans to merge to help better meet the needs of their local populations. We believe that now is the right time for our three CCGs to come together to form a leaner, more strategic, single organisation to serve local people.”
“Becoming one CCG will result in reduced variation in care and standardised best practice. Working as one organisation will also reduce running costs, help meet financial challenges and free up more money to be invested in frontline services and transformational projects.”
There are currently no plans for a single headquarters for the newly merged organisation.