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April application deadline set for single CCG plan for Shropshire

By Lisa O'Brien | Shrewsbury | Health | Published:

Health commissioners are looking at an April deadline to submit a new application for forming a single CCG group in Shropshire, a new report says.

There had been plans to dissolve both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin clinical commissioning groups to form the new organisation in April this year.

But health commissioners were told that their application had been turned down because it was 'not strong enough at this stage to proceed in this timescale'.

Now, the CCGs are looking to submit a revised application by April 30 and are hoping to become a single organisation in April 2021.

But it has emerged that as long as the groups keep separate identities, they could choose to work more or less as one in the meantime.

A report to Shropshire CCG's governing body, which meets on Wednesday, speaks of streamlining existing governance structures of both CCGs in the next few months in preparation for the move.

It also proposes that both CCGs align decision making as closely as possible during the interim period.

In the report, Alison Smith, director of corporate affairs for both CCGs, said: "The NHS England/NHS Improvement Panel provided some positive feedback on the application submission and some suggestions on how both CCGs could enhance the joint application.

"The panel 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."

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Constitution

The report says the process to create one single staffing structure for senior managers and staff has started and will continue regardless of the delay in a successful application.

It says: "Both CCGs are now exploring the options to align their respective governance structures and processes to allow a single management and staff team to support, both CCGs efficiently and effectively in the interim period running up to the creation of a single strategic commissioner in April 2021."

According to the report, as long as the CCGs currently remain single groups, there is nothing stopping them from adopting a constitution that has 'almost exactly the same content'.

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The CCGs could choose to appoint the same members to its boards, which would allow both governing bodies to meet in common at the same time.

It comes as Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin CCGs need to make cuts of 20 per cent to running costs to save £1.2 million.

Health bosses say the creation of a single body is to support the ambition of the NHS Long Term Plan, however the proposals have been met with controversy.

A public engagement exercise is to be carried out this month and next.

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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