Shropshire health chiefs approve CCG merger with Telford
Health commissioners in Shropshire have approved plans to merge the county's two groups that are responsible for buying local healthcare services.
Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group's governing board agreed that the merger with Telford & Wrekin CCG should go ahead at a meeting yesterday.
Telford's health commissioners will get a chance to discuss the plans next week.
It comes as the CCGs need to make cuts of 20 per cent to running costs to save £1.2 million.
Members of Shropshire's board spoke in favour of the proposals yesterday, claiming there were many benefits and any redundancies would be avoided where possible.
Keith Timmis, a lay member of the board, backed the merger.
He said: "This is going to happen. The long term plan makes that clear.
"I would rather us and Telford be on the front foot for creating the vision for ourselves."
He said the groups should get on with it and that it would remove uncertainty for staff, providers and the public.
Meredith Vivian, another lay member, said: "It's very important, very good idea, lots of benefits to be had."
Opportunity to be positive
Accountable officer David Stout said redundancies would be avoided where possible and health commissioners would engage with the workforce to reassure staff.
He said: "There is an opportunity to build a new organisation that works the best for both.
"It really is an opportunity to do something positive."
Speaking earlier this week, Mr Stout said the plans will help save resources and lessen any impact on frontline services.
Members of Shropshire CCG's board yesterday agreed to 'support the dissolution of both CCGs and the formation of a single strategic commissioning organisation for the Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin footprint'.
They also agreed to the early recruitment of a single accountable officer and the early integration of management teams.
If Telford & Wrekin CCG's governing board also approves the plans next week then a request to continue the process will be submitted to NHS England by September 30, with a completion date set for April 1, next year.
The plans to merge the two groups have split opinion among politicians in the county.
North Shropshire's MP Owen Paterson and Shrewsbury & Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski have both backed a merger.
But Telford MP Lucy Allan has warned that it would risk aggravating health inequalities in the town she represents.