Shropshire and Telford CCG merger plan could return sooner than expected
Plans to merge the two health commissioning groups which cover Shropshire and Telford could be back on the table sooner than expected.
Shropshire and Telford Clinical Commissioning Groups had hoped to become a single CCG overseen by one accountable officer in a bid to streamline services and save money.
But NHS England rejected the plans last month, saying they did not fully meet the criteria.
It was expected the plans would have to be put on ice until September 2020, but David Evans, who has been appointed the single accountable officer for both CCGs says he has been given firm assurances the plans could be looked at sooner.
He also blamed the “ambitious” timescale set for the merger as the reason why NHS England did not back the scheme.
Mr Evans said: “Following the formal application to NHS England NHS Improvement on September 30, a panel meeting was convened by the regional team to consider the application in more detail on October 11.
“Following this panel meeting the CCGs were informed that the application had been unsuccessful on this occasion, mainly due to the fact that the CCGs had not had enough time to develop the strategic thinking, which meant some of the key evidence and documentation submitted with the application did not fully meet the NHS England/NHS Improvement application criteria.
“However, the panel have provided very positive feedback on the application, acknowledging the effort and contribution in developing the application by the two CCGs.
“The panel’s view was that if the CCGs had more time, the application would have been stronger and the late start clearly disadvantaged our application.”
He added: “The panel have also made a firm offer to support the CCGs to make a further application earlier than the normal deadline of September 2020, as they believe our application can be enhanced to meet the 10 application criteria in full, if we continue to work at pace.
“We are currently in discussions with NHS England on a new application timescale and consequently we will need to review the whole programme plan and realign actions.
“The programme management office is currently updating the programme plan in light of this feedback where it can and has arranged to meet with workstream leads to review the detail of the actions still to be delivered and a proposed timeframe for these actions that will need to be reprogrammed.
“We have an assurance meeting scheduled with NHS England/NHS Improvement on November 20 where we hope we can agree our new application timeframe.
“The management of change process for senior managers and staff will continue regardless of the delay in a successful application, as previously stated.”