Eleven commissioning groups crossing local authority boundaries may have to reform due to new rules announced by the government, HSJ has found.

The government this week confirmed the boundaries of consortia – renamed clinical commissioning groups – should “not normally” cross those of councils.

Groups crossing boundaries will have to give a “clear rationale in terms of benefits for patients” and provide an account of how they expect to “achieve better integration” with social care.

HSJ’s analysis of 328 emerging consortia found that before the announcement 11 groups had decided to form across unitary or upper tier local authority boundaries.

United League Commissioning is made up of practices located within the boundaries of both Wigan and St Helen’s councils. Head of operations Judith White said patients in both local authorities used services on the other side of the boundary.

She said: “We have worked hard over the last few years [under practice-based commissioning] to achieve an excellent level of clinical engagement and an impetus to deliver change, and it would be tragic to lose these factors.”

Less than a third of the proposed commissioning groups are coterminous with council boundaries. The most common formation is several groups within a council’s boundaries.

Of 328 consortia/clinical commissioning groups identified by HSJ:

  • 44 - are coterminous with an upper tier local authority
  • 60 - are coterminous with a lower tier local authority
  • 11 - cross an upper tier local authority boundary
  • 49 - cross a lower tier (district) local authority boundary – but not an upper tier
  • 162 - are one of several non-coterminous groups within a single – unitary or lower tier – local authority area
  • 2 - are considering forming commissioning groups of practices spread across the country, with members in various local authority areas