Plans for health groups to unite

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE - By Paul Fran­cis po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor pfran­cis@thek­m­group.co.uk @PaulOnPol­i­tics

Health chiefs have con­firmed plans to bring to­gether Kent and Med­way’s eight GP groups say­ing it will im­prove pa­tient care and stop du­pli­ca­tion.

The plan stops short of a full merger of Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Groups (CCGs) but if ap­proved would in­volve the eight or­gan­i­sa­tions jointly com­mis­sion­ing some health care ser­vices. It is pos­si­ble there will be a re­duc­tion in what are known as “ac­count­able of­fi­cers” who man­age the or­gan­i­sa­tions.

In a state­ment the groups said: “We are al­ready work­ing to­gether as eight CCGs on projects such as the stroke re­view and the re-com­mis­sion­ing of NHS 111. A sin­gle strate­gic com­mis­sion­ing func­tion would strengthen that, build­ing our ca­pac­ity across the CCGs to work to­gether where do­ing so can drive im­prove­ments.”

At the same time, the CCGs would con­tinue to be able to com­mis­sion their own ser­vices for pa­tients in their area.

The state­ment said: “Since the NHS, Kent County Coun­cil and Med­way Coun­cil started work­ing to­gether as a sus­tain­abil­ity and trans­for­ma­tion part­ner­ship (STP), it has be­come clear there is a need for some as­pects of NHS care to be more joined-up. We need a strate­gic com­mis­sioner with the au­thor­ity to es­tab­lish pri­or­i­ties and plans.”

“As a first step, the eight clin­i­cal com­mis­sion­ing groups (CCGs) in Kent and Med­way are dis­cussing a tran­si­tional pro­posal to share a man­age­ment team, with a sin­gle ac­count­able of­fi­cer. The eight CCGs would re­main in place and would re­tain their statu­tory role, del­e­gat­ing au­thor­ity to the sin­gle man­age­ment team where ap­pro­pri­ate.”

If ap­proved by the NHS, the plan could come into ef­fect in April.

The West Kent CCG board was the lat­est to sign off on the plan at a meet­ing on Mon­day.

CCGs were set up in 2012, re­plac­ing pri­mary care trusts. They buy and plan healthcare and use providers such as hos­pi­tals, clin­ics, com­mu­nity health bod­ies.

Na­tion­ally, they ac­count for £74bn of the NHS bud­get and are largely made up of lo­cal GPs.

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