NHS England rejects four-way merger and insists on one CCG for 2.7m people

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  • NHS England has rejected plans to merge four clinical commissioning groups in north Merseyside
  • National body insists they must also merge with five other CCGs, creating a single commissioner for Cheshire and Merseyside
  • Decision has prompted huge frustration among commissioning leaders

NHS England has rejected plans to merge four clinical commissioning groups in north Merseyside – insisting the merger must also include the five other CCGs in the wider health system, HSJ has learned.

National guidance issued in January 2020 said there should “typically” be only one CCG for each of the 42 “integrated care systems” in England, which implied there could be flexibility for very large systems such as Cheshire and Merseyside.

This encouraged four Merseyside CCGs — covering Liverpool, Knowsley, South Sefton and Southport and Formby — to press ahead with a merger plan, with a view to this transaction taking place by April 2021. Meanwhile, four CCGs in Cheshire completed their long-planned merger in April 2020.

However, the HSJ understands the four Merseyside CCGs have now been told by NHS England there must be a single commissioning body for the entire Cheshire and Merseyside system, as a bid for their four-way merger was rejected. It would cover a population of around 2.7 million.

This would need to include the new Cheshire CCG, as well as those for St Helens, Warrington, Halton and Wirral.

This is understood to have caused huge frustration among commissioning leaders, who had been working on the assumption that more than one CCG would be permitted. Cheshire and Merseyside is the third largest health system in England.

 

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Source: HSJ

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Date: 18 September 2020