West of England CCGs plan merger

Three CCGs serving a million people in the west of England have proposed a merger.

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCGs (BNSSG), which already work under a single chief executive and executive team, will ask member practices to vote on the merger next month before seeking approval from NHS England. 

The merger will create a single commissioning group for the BNSSG sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) in a £1.5bn health economy. 

Commissioners said the merger was the next logical step of moves already made towards closer integration.

Under the plans the single CCG would be built on a strong locality infrastructure to ensure commissioners remain close to GPs and patients. 

The organisations said the benefits would allow them to focus more resources on improving services. 

A statement from the CCGs said: ‘A merger would also help to progress our work to create a stronger, clearer and more consistent commissioning ‘voice’ for our area, built on the strong foundations of locality-based, GP-led commissioning, and better able to drive forward the changes needed to deliver the resilient and sustainable NHS services that local people need.’

The BNSSG STP published in 2016 revealed that the local NHS was £72m in deficit, a figure that was set to rise to over £300m by 2020/22 without change. 

NHS England’s annual CCG ratings for 2016/17 published in July rated Bristol CCG ‘requires improvement’, North Somerset ‘inadequate’ and South Gloucestershire ‘inadequate’. 

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