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Several CCGs in North West London are in discussions to merge into a single organisation.
Last week, a collaboration of eight CCGs published a case for change, explaining that the merger could ‘streamline decision making’ in addition to freeing up more resources for patient care instead of administrative costs.
The CCGs, which currently make up the North West London collaboration of CCGs, include Brent, Central London, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, and West London.
But the document also stressed the importance of keeping an ‘NHS presence’ at local level.
The report said: ‘A health system as large and complex as NW London’s could not be run from a single headquarters. We believe that local staff must be working to deliver needs of local populations by working in partnership with local government, primary care, community services and the voluntary sector to integrate health and social care.’
Accountable officer for the eight CCGs, Mark Easton, said working as a single statutory body could ‘improve quality and reduce inequalities.’
He said: ‘We can work more effectively for patients as a single statutory body. We have unwarranted variation in health outcomes and duplication across eight boroughs – by reducing this inefficiency we can improve quality and reduce inequalities. We need to save money – the running cost reductions will make a small contribution to our savings requirement, but the more significant savings will come from reducing duplication and operating as an integrated rather than competitive system.
‘We would, of course, retain a focus and a presence in each of the eight CCG areas and we would want local relationships and programmes to continue to be managed at local level. We are talking to local authority colleagues, provider trusts and local GPs about how we would continue to work together in future. In all of this, it is crucial that services remain accountable to local residents in each borough and that patients and the public have the chance to shape and feedback on health services.
‘We are moving towards a single partnership across all eight boroughs, known as an integrated care system (ICS), in which all health and care organisations in North West London work as a single team. It is expected that this ICS will include a single CCG and that is what we are exploring.
‘However, we first want to engage the views of local GPs, local authorities, NHS trusts, Healthwatch and residents on this proposal.’
As Healthcare Leader previously reported six CCGs in South East London, two in the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin area, and three in North Yorkshire have already made similar moves.
The four Cheshire CCGs have also announced their intention to become one CCG next year.
A version of this story was first published on our sister publication Pulse.