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Two Kent CCGs consider merger

Two Kent CCGs consider merger


Financial difficulties have led Ashford and Canterbury & Coastal clinical commissioning groups (CCG) to consider a merger. 

The lack of GPs available to fill key roles within the CCG and pressures to cut costs has led to the proposal.

According to a report, which sets out the suggestion, the merger process would save £531,000 and a further £231,000 in staffing costs.

CCGs have been told to reduce budgets by 10%. The report stated: “Merging presents opportunities to better manage the corporate budget - this will prove very difficult to achieve if the status quo is maintained.”

A GP went onto say: “Merger will allow us to do this while increasing our focus on our localities and member practices.”

The commissioning groups say that the merger will make them more efficient and effective by cutting down on administration and allowing GPs to focus on patients.

Ashford CCG spent £131m on care in 2013 for around 125,000 patients, whilst the Canterbury & Coastal CCG spent £237m.

Labour County Councillor and member of the Kent and Medway NHS scrutiny panel, Mike Eddy, said there had been problems with GPs time allocation. 

He said: “[CCGs] mean we have fewer and fewer GPs working in surgeries because they are being forced to take time out for meetings and negotiations. [The merger] is very much financially driven. GPs cannot treat patients and manage the NHS at the same time."

The statement announced by the two CCGs reads: “We are in the early stages of exploring the possibility of a merger. Key reasons for this include strengthening clinical involvement, removing duplication of effort across the two CCGs and being proactive in our management of any future financial risks.

“No decision has yet been made. We will not progress the idea unless we have support from our member practices, council colleagues, MPs and patient groups.”


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