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Area team numbers to be ‘halved’


15 September 2014

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Area teams could be merged into “much bigger structures” as part of NHS England’s drive to cut down costs. 
Senior managers have been briefed about plans to reduce the number of area teams by 25-50% through mergers. 
A letter from NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens to NHS England staff sent late last week said that the area team reviews are “to be frank, principally driven by the running cost cuts that we are facing”. 

Area teams could be merged into “much bigger structures” as part of NHS England’s drive to cut down costs. 
Senior managers have been briefed about plans to reduce the number of area teams by 25-50% through mergers. 
A letter from NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens to NHS England staff sent late last week said that the area team reviews are “to be frank, principally driven by the running cost cuts that we are facing”. 
A GP leader who has been briefed on the changes told Pulse: “There is a review of the area team footprint going on. 
“There was a correspondence that came out on Monday to very senior managers within the area teams, and we understand that there is going to be some mergers of area teams of between 25-50%.”  
GPs raised concerns that bigger area teams could lead to bigger clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).
Dr John Canning, secretary of Cleveland LMC said that area teams are expected to grow “perhaps to the level of previous regions, which were 14 traditionally but came to seven at one stage in the past”. 
He said: “It will create greater distances from the activity. [I wonder] will they be able to manage more CCGs or will it lead to wanted and perhaps unwanted CCG mergers.” 

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