Health chiefs approve plan to create single CCG group in Shropshire
Health chiefs have approved plans to create a new organisation that will be responsible for buying local NHS healthcare services for the whole of Shropshire.
Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Shropshire CCG are currently both separately responsible for commissioning health services in their own areas.
Now the groups will apply to dissolve both CCGs in favour of creating a single organisation from April next year.
Telford and Wrekin CCG's governing board unanimously backed the plans during a meeting this afternoon.
It comes as the CCGs need to make cuts of 20 per cent to running costs to save £1.2 million.
David Evans, chief officer at Telford & Wrekin CCG, said: "Both of the CCGs have been looking at how we can work in a different way to enable the aspirations of the NHS long-term plan to be delivered as well as reduce cost savings."
He urged board members not to delay the decision, saying it would be 'unsettling' for staff and may lead to workers leaving.
Mr Evans said redundancies would be avoided where possible, but no guarantees have been given.
Dr Jo Leahy, chair of the CCG, said it should not be considered a 'merger'.
She said: "We need to move away from the idea we can merge two different organisations.
"We are going to have to dissolve both and start a new organisation with a different culture with very clear localities in it."
She said the group could choose to act now and design something that is 'fit for purpose'.
Jon Cooke, the CCG's finance officer, said he would also ensure the protection of resources into Telford & Wrekin.
It comes after concerns have been raised about Shropshire CCG's scaling deficit.
Other fears have been voiced that conversations involving Telford would be 'watered down' under the control of a single organisation.
A 'lack of detail' in the plans was also raised by Telford & Wrekin Councillor Andy Burford, cabinet member for health and social care.
He claims such changes should be subject to public consultation.
Councillor Burford added: “It beggars belief that such a top-down decision can be imposed on the borough without any regard for the public’s views.
“The CCG is making a decision based on very little detail as to how our residents’ interests would be protected.
"They are effectively ready to sign a blank cheque, a cheque that I fear will be used to bail out Shropshire CCG’s years of mismanagement.
“This cannot be at the expense of our residents and their health services."
A request to continue the process will now be submitted to NHS England by September 30.
Responding to the decision, Telford MP Lucy Allan said: "The CCG is wholly unaccountable to local representatives and is pushing ahead with this plan despite our opposition and without having addressed the concerns we have raised.
“The next step is for the borough’s representatives to sit down with NHS England and set out the case for stopping the merger.
“We have to prioritise the health needs of the people we represent and this plan quite clearly does not do that.”