Birmingham merger creates England's fourth-largest CCG

Two clinical commissioning groups (CGGs) in Birmingham plan to merge to create one of the largest groups in the country, covering 730,000 patients.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul: CCG changes must have backing of local GPs
Dr Chaand Nagpaul: CCG changes must have backing of local GPs

If the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) gives the go-ahead for Cross City and North East Birmingham CCGs to merge, they will become the fourth largest CCG in the country, covering 117 practices.

The merger would bring the number of proposed CCGs in England down to 211.The two Birmingham CCGs were due to apply for authorisation in the fourth wave of CCG applications, from 1 November.

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said he did not object to the move if member practices believed it was the right thing to do.

He said: ‘CCG authorisation is on a tight timetable. It is not surprising that during this process some CCGs will find that their configuration is suboptimal.

‘If they can show the demonstrable support of their constituent practices, then it is fine. Technically, merging is not right or wrong. The issue is that they can show the support of member GPs.

'As CCGs become larger, it is important to put in place systems that enable GP engagement.

'It is important that CCGs get it right before authorisation. CCGs should not feel pressured to meet a deadline.’

This comes after five CCGs deferred their authorisation applications last month as they were not ready in time for what the GPC called an 'unrealistic political deadline'.

A NHSCB spokeswoman said: ‘Cross City and NHS North East Birmingham have made a pre-application change to their configuration to become NHS Birmingham Cross City CCG.

‘This means that the number of proposed CCGs in England has reduced from 212 to 211 and we will be updating the documents on the NHSCB website shortly in line with this change.’

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