Health shake-up plans pressing ahead as merger proposals agreed

Major decisions about NHS commissioning services in Hartlepool will go before a new management set-up following merger plans being agreed.

Sunday, 8th September 2019, 4:45 pm
Picture c/o Pixabay

Previously, responsibility for commissioning health services had been down to the dedicated Hartlepool and Stockon and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG).

However earlier this year NHS England stated it was looking to reduce the number of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in a bid to save money in running costs, to be reinvested in health services.

A meeting of the local CCG Governing Body featuring bosses from across the area has now backed plans for Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees CCG to merge with Darlington CCG and South Tees CCG.

The new CCG is to be named ‘NHS Tees Valley CCG’ and notification confirming the decision is expected from NHS England by November 2019.

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If all goes to plan the existing CCGs will be dissolved and the new organisation will be in place by April 1 2020.

There has also been a merger agreed for North Durham CCG and Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield (DDES) CCGs, to become a single County Durham CCG.

The County Durham and Tees Valley CCGs will also have a shared management structure as part of the recommendation.

Hartlepool Borough Council Audit and Governance Committee was informed of the decision at its latest meeting.

Joan Stevens, statutory scrutiny manager at the council, said: “They’ve approved the preferred option as outlined for the merger of the CCGs which is going to be submitted to NHS England.”

Nicola Bailey, chief officer for the governing body behind the five County Durham and Tees Valley CCGs, spoke to the Hartlepool Health and Wellbeing Board in July detailing them on the proposals.

She put forward several options and recommended the option which was ultimately chosen.

Speaking at the previous meeting, she said: “In terms of principles we have agreed, there will be no detrimental impact on patient services.

“We know we have to change, we have to reduce our running costs by 20-25% by 2021 and that’s on staff, governance, buildings, it’s not on the health care services that we buy.

“That 20% has to go into front-line health services so it gets recycled back into front line health services.”