Work on merging Derbyshire’s four clinical commissioning groups is continuing – following conditional approval from NHS England.
County health leaders have sought the views of local patients and organisations on proposals to merge the county’s four clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) of Erewash, Hardwick, North and Southern Derbyshire into a single organisation.
The aim is to strengthen CCG work and efficiency to help commission services which are equally available to all residents and make the best use of money available to the local NHS.
Derbyshire CCGs have been working closely together for the last two years, having joint (or ‘in-common’) meetings to help speed up and unify decision-making.
A single Chief Executive Officer and Chief Finance Officer were also appointed in 2017 as the first steps towards joint management.
The CCG Governing Bodies feel the time is right to bring the organisations together formally in a merger as a final step in the development of a single commissioning approach across Derbyshire and Derby city.
Dr Chris Clayton, Chief Executive Officer of the Derbyshire CCGs, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for us to make strategic commissioning decisions across a single CCG to benefit Derbyshire patients and provide consistency and reduce duplication for ourselves and the hospitals, community and mental health services we contract with.
“It will help improve services for over one million patients by reducing variation in quality and access to care and drive up standards across all providers.
“We sought the views of local people about the merger and are fully committed to accelerating the implementation of what has become known as ‘place-based’ commissioning, where local GP practices and other partner services get much more involved in determining some of the services they believe are required specifically for patients in their own area.
“This will help to tackle local health issues while at the same time making sure everyone has the same access to universal health care across the county.
“The merger and place-based commissioning go very much hand in hand, and it is very important that we are able to keep a strong local voice in our commissioning operations.”
The CCG Governing Bodies sought views of local people and a mandate from the 116 Derbyshire GP member practices to work more formally together.
The formal application to merge was reviewed by NHS England and agreed subject to the following conditions being met:
- The approval of the new CCG’s constitution: this will set out how the new CCG will comply with legislation, guidance, and is otherwise appropriate, including confirming the CCG’s Governing Body composition; it’s approach to governance and engagement arrangements; and with membership support for the new constitution documented
- Nomination and appointment of an appropriate Chair, Accountable Officer, and Chief Finance Officer (CFO).
- In addition, given the Directions applied to North Derbyshire CCG, NHS England retains a degree of oversight over these appointments, particularly to the post of CFO.
- Governing Body composition and staffing: the CCG will need to ensure it has identified the other statutory roles and that the new Governing Body is correctly constituted and that it has identified its new staffing structure, including details of clinical involvement in commissioning.
- The development and approval of a robust financial recovery plan that sets out how the new organisation will repay its existing cumulative deficits and achieve underlying financial sustainability while coming together as a single organisation.