Plans to merge the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) CCGs have been given the go-ahead by NHS England, meaning that the three commissioning groups are set to become a single organisation from 1 April 2018.
The proposal to merge was strongly supported by NHS England as a logical next step in the creation of a strong, single commissioner for the BNSSG area, better able to drive forward the changes needed to deliver the resilient and sustainable NHS services that local people need.
The new organisation will cover the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire areas and will be based on a strengthened locality structure, reflecting the natural communities of GPs and their patients across the local area.
Primary care will continue to sit at the heart of the new organisation and the CCGs’ decisions will continue to be guided by local GPs, acting as advocates for and representatives of their patients.
Clinical chair for Bristol CCG, Dr Martin Jones, said:
"This is very welcome news. We have worked closely together as CCGs for a number of years and the merger is a logical progression that will help us to create a stronger single commissioning voice better able to deliver the resilient, sustainable NHS services that local patients need."
Clinical chair for North Somerset CCG, Dr Mary Backhouse, said:
"I am delighted that NHS England, like our GP membership, has supported our merger proposal, which will benefit local patients as well as the wider health and care system. We will now being the detailed work of preparing for the merger and look forward to launching the new organisation from April next year."
Clinical chair for South Gloucestershire CCG, Dr Jonathan Hayes, said:
"I welcome this announcement and look forward to the launch of the merged organisation next year. Although we already work very closely together, with a single chief executive and executive team, merger will give new impetus to our work to transform and improve services on behalf of local patients."
Plans for a merger of the three CCGs were first proposed in August this year and following engagement with local stakeholders and support from the CCG’s Governing Bodies, a proposal was put to the CCG’s GP member practices in September.
Members voted overwhelmingly in support of the proposal and a formal application to merge was then submitted to NHS England. This was approved by NHS England in October, subject to conditions including agreement on a revised financial recovery plan for the new organisation.
Anticipated benefits of the merger include a stronger commissioning and clinical leadership role for the new CCG, with a single budget and commissioning strategy supporting the CCGs’ work to drive forward the new care models outlined in the local Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.
Merger is also expected to support the delivery of more consistent services for local patients across a wider geographical area, as well as more efficient and joined-up use of the three CCGs’ resources.