Nottinghamshire health commissioning bodies to merge in bid to save funds

Mansfield and Ashfield Clinical Commissioning Group, at Ransom Wood Business Park.
Mansfield and Ashfield Clinical Commissioning Group, at Ransom Wood Business Park.

Several high-level NHS bodies which cover Nottinghamshire and Nottingham are set to merge in a bid to save money and improve integration.

The six Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) covering the area have all agreed in principle to create a new group, which will be known as Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG.

CCGs were set up by the coalition Government in 2013, and are responsible for planning and commissioning healthcare.

The CCGs will now submit their merger plan to NHS England. If successful, it would become operational on April 1 next year.

In a consultation carried out by the CCGs, they found 68 per cent of respondents were in favour of the merger to create a single commissioner, while 16 per cent were in favour of there being no change to the current arrangements.

Councillor Adele Williams represents Sherwood for Labour, and is the city’s portfolio holder for adult care and local transport.

Speaking at a meeting yesterday (July 24) of the Health and Wellbeing Board, she said: “I still remain concerned that the lack of a city focus will be a difficulty for us in terms of maintaining a sharp response to what the city’s issues are, because we do have distinct issues in the city.

“I do welcome that the proposals have put in some mitigation measures, but still the main concern is that we will lose that focus on what the city’s needs are.”

Speaking after the meeting, Dr Hugh Porter, clinical chairman of Nottingham City CCG said: “The plans to form a single commissioning organisation for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire will help the local NHS run more efficiently as well as complement wider changes set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

“But this does not mean losing sight of the needs of different communities. In fact, the introduction of Primary Care Networks earlier this month will focus more attention on local priorities than ever before. This will ensure that commissioning decisions are more responsive to our population.

“There are also lots of advantages for local GPs such as more opportunities to share good practice and make the most of what we are doing well locally.

“Across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire there are lots of examples of innovative approaches to addressing poor health outcomes.

“We need to get better at sharing this insight wider, which will ultimately help improve the health of local people.

“During our recent consultation we looked carefully at feedback from a wide range of people and organisations.

“After reviewing the responses we believe the proposals can provide the advantages of scale while maintaining local relationships across the health and care community.”

The merger involves Mansfield and Ashfield, Newark and Sherwood, Nottingham City, Nottingham North and East, Nottingham West and Rushcliffe CCGs.

The other CCG in the area, Bassetlaw, is not involved.