Decision due on North Somerset healthcare merger with Bristol
PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 September 2017
The organisation which commissions healthcare services in North Somerset could be given the go-ahead to merge with similar providers in Bristol and Gloucestershire next month.
North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was rated inadequate and placed in special measures by NHS England in 2016, and has been working closely with neighbouring organisations to commission health services since then.
The CCGs across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) believe a formal merger is now the best way forward.
A statement released by the CCGs says: “The proposal was made following careful consideration of the potential risks and benefits which it would bring for local patients, our partners and the wider health and care system.”
North Somerset CCG’s inadequate rating in 2016 came on the back of NHS England’s concerns about its financial position and the sustainability of Weston Area Health Trust, which runs Weston General Hospital.
CCG leaders say the solution is working closely with its neighbouring partners to create a plan for health services across North Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire because they could share the administrative costs.
The statement said: “Operating a single administrative and governance function would enable us to focus more of our people and resources on delivering improved services and better patient experience.”
MORE: What is the STP?
A sustainability and transformation plan (STP) to transform healthcare across the whole BNSSG area has already been drawn up in a bid to save millions of pounds.
It is thought the gap between spending and available funding will rise from £72million to £305.5million by 2021 if changes are not made.
The statement adds: “A merger would also help to progress our work to create a stronger, clearer and more consistent commissioning voice for our area, built on the strong foundations of locality-based, GP-led commissioning, and better able to drive forward the changes needed to deliver the resilient and sustainable NHS services that local people need.”
The CCGs will put the merger before their members in September, asking for it to be approved.