• Proposals to appoint a “joint leader” across Croydon CCG and Croydon Health Services Trust
  • Move would be first joint appointment of its kind
  • Organisations already share a nursing director

A trust and clinical commissioning group today launched a plan to appoint a joint chief executive across both organisations.

Croydon Health Services Trust and Croydon CCG in London, which already share a nursing director, announced this morning their “ambition is to start with the appointment of a single leader for the trust and the CCG, supported by a committee in common, with members from both organisations to consider strategy, transformation and finance decisions”.

How this arrangement will work in conjunction with the governance of the South West London Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, of which both organisations are members, is not clear.

The two organisations also share a chief pharmacist and the trust already runs community services in the borough.

In a joint statement, the organisations said: “Working together, the trust and Croydon CCG will be able to remove duplication and speed up decision-making. This will help to improve recruitment and retention of staff, focus on improving quality, while innovating and redesigning care to be more efficient.”

Croydon Health Services Trust had the second worst accident and emergency performance in London in April. It saw just 60 per cent of type-one patients within four hours, compared to the 95 per cent target.

In July 2016, both the trust and the CCG were placed in financial special measures. The trust was moved out of the special measures regime after seven months but the CCG only exited in July 2018.

Agnelo Fernandes, a local GP and chair of Croydon CCG, said: “Formalising our partnership between the trust and CCG will lay the foundations for the full integration of health and social care in the borough to make Croydon a great place for people of all ages to live and thrive.”

Dr Fernandes continued: “We are in a very strong position to increase the alignment between our two organisations for the benefit of local people. This year, for the first time since we were established in 2013, Croydon CCG has had a financial surplus and so now is a good time for us to agree this shared control total so that we can make sure we invest every pound in the best and most efficient way possible.”

The trust is predicting a year-end deficit of £23m for 2018-19. Its most recent board papers noted the Department of Health and Social Care had confirmed it would not be called upon to pay back any working capital loans due in the financial year. It has received £87.9m in total to cover previous years’ deficits.

Mike Bell, chair of Croydon Health Services Trust, said in a statement: “Both the trust and the CCG have the same goals of making services better for patients and improving our support for staff. Bringing both organisations closer together ensures the best possible spend for the Croydon pound and free-up resources to support further quality improvements on the frontline.

“Croydon is ahead of the curve in London to take forward the NHS long-term plan and has an amazing opportunity to ultimately bring the whole health and care system together to improve the wellbeing of all.

“Our two organisations have been in discussions for some time to identify areas where we can better work together to deliver real transformation for the people of Croydon. This proposed partnership is the next step on the journey towards broader alignment with our Croydon partners.”

The trust appointed Matthew Kershaw as interim chief executive in September 2018.