Four clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Cheshire will combine in response to backing from GPs, having received confirmation from NHS England.
Eastern Cheshire, South Cheshire, Vale Royal and West Cheshire CCGs will merge on 1 April 2020.
Clare Watson, accountable officer for the proposed merger, said: ‘We are delighted to receive approval from NHS England/Improvement for our application to bring together the four Cheshire CCGs. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in supporting our work to come together so far. This includes staff, GP members, partner organisations and the people of Cheshire.
‘[The merger] will enable us to strengthen our work as a single team to ensure the people of Cheshire are able to access consistently good care – wherever they live. It will also enable us to further support the development of Integrated Care Partnerships in Cheshire East and Cheshire West which will provide more care closer to home.’
A ballot of GP practices across all the CCGs, conducted by GP Federation Primary Care Cheshire, saw GPs respond 86% in support of the merger. The voting was independently verified by the Cheshire local medical committee.
When results from the ballot were revealed, Dr Chris Ritchieson, chair of NHS West Cheshire CCG, said: ‘Along with Dr Andrew Wilson, GP Chair of NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG and NHS South Cheshire CCG and Dr Jonathan Griffiths, GP Chair of NHS Vale Royal CCG, we would like to extend our thanks to our partners and members of the public who have taken the time to share their thoughts and feedback on our merger proposals.
‘We would also like to acknowledge the time and consideration that our four GP memberships have dedicated to reaching this decision, which supports our ambition to create a single strategic commissioner for Cheshire, championing the needs of local people at a regional and national level.’
A separate public engagement survey conducted by Working Together Across Cheshire, a programme related to the proposed merger, found that 76.5% of 376 respondents voted in favour of a single Cheshire CCG.