STRUCTURE: Two Birmingham clinical commissioning groups have “expressed a preference” for merging.

A press release from the Birmingham and Solihull primary care trust cluster said Cross City CCG and North East Birmingham CCG are planning to join together to create the fourth largest CCG in England.

It would comprise 117 GP practices and be responsible for a population of 730,000.

Gavin Ralston, chair of Cross City CCG, said: “This is going to be a large, dynamic CCG, which will have the potential to improve and redefine healthcare for the people of our city at a strategic level whilst retaining a vital local focus.”

The CCG will have ten local networks to enable “strong clinical engagement” while operating on a large enough scale “to deal effectively with Birmingham’s complex healthcare landscape.”

Dr Anthony Ainsworth, Chair of North East Birmingham CCG, said: “We welcome the opportunity to join this vibrant CCG.

“We look forward to continuing to develop this work, which we believe to be vital to the success of the CCG, whilst also contributing to the larger scale work across the city.”

The move would not affect Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, and Birmingham South Central CCG, which is currently encircled on three sides by Birmingham Cross City CCG.