PLANS to merge family doctors’ groups in Solihull and Birmingham have been approved by NHS bosses, it has been announced today.
NHS England has given its backing to a merger of the three Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Groups, creating the largest CCG in England.
The groups have received approval for the creation of a single CCG for Birmingham and Solihull, to be available from April next year.
CCGs are groups of GPs’ surgeries responsible for buying and providing services for patients in the borough.
They were created by the former coalition government in a stated bid to have doctors running the NHS, findng savings and ending so-called ‘top-down government’ in the NHS.
But CCGs in the borough have found themselves running at deficits and more NHS budget cuts are required.
Paul Jennings, interim chief executive of the NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCGs, said: “This is an exciting time for the NHS in Birmingham and Solihull.
“The approval in principle from NHS England provides greater clarity for our patients, staff and partners, and even more momentum to ensure a smooth and successful transition to our new CCG, which will be the largest in England.
“I am very happy to say that we have already made significant progress on many of the conditions and actions set out by NHS England, thanks to the hard work and dedication of many CCG staff. There is however more work still to do.
“The new CCG will help to deliver the best possible outcomes for local people; tackling health inequalities and meeting the health and wellbeing needs of a diverse population.”
The CCGs formally applied to NHS England to merge after a six-week public consultation earlier this year, which the CCG claims showed ‘overwhelming support for a full merger’.
This approval is subject to a number of conditions.
The CCGs say there is a process in place for the approval of the new CCG’s constitution outlining the objectives for the new enhanced service.
It also depends on the appointment of a chair, accountable officer and chief finance officer.
The NHS has insisted that all statutory roles need to be in place to provide a clear duty of care to patients, including that the new governing body is correctly constituted, and that a new staffing structure is identified.