Managers put pressure on England's smallest CCG to merge

A strategic health authority (SHA) is putting pressure on the smallest clinical commissioning group in England to merge, warning it will 'not meet the requirements of the Health Bill'.

The NHS Midlands and East SHA has written to Dr Ken Spooner, who runs England's smallest CCG the Red House Group of practices in Hertfordshire with 18,900 patients, warning that the CCG is ‘very unlikely to be authorised’.

The letter from Dr Paul Zollinger-Read, the director of commissioning development at NHS Midlands and East, said running a single practice CCG within a larger geographical area covered by a larger CCG could cause ‘confusion to patients and partners’.

He wrote: ‘I would urge you very strongly to take control of your own destiny and start negotiations with your colleagues in the Herts Valley CCG as soon as possible.’

But in a response, Dr Mike Ingram, a member of the Red House Group, said the CCG has ‘proven itself by the results it has obtained’. He said the Red House CCG should be seen as a ‘paradigm, not a pariah.’

He said: ‘We do note the various constraints of small CCGs but nevertheless the very ethos of the government’s health reforms is that of determination by clinicians of the best pattern of care, mindful of the finite resources of the NHS and engaging with the patients' representative as well as those in the community.  

‘We feel that this has been achieved by us and through the development of our model, we feel that we can make rapid, efficient achievements in further improvements at minimal managerial cost to the NHS.

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