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Mergers and more

The number of clinical commissioning groups sharing chief officers has increased by more than half in six months, HSJ analysis has found.

There are now 83 CCGs (out of 209) sharing accountable officers or chief officers – 62 per cent more than in September, when there were 52.

If all the CCGs which are planning to merge or are currently sharing a chief officer eventually merged, it would significantly reduce the number of CCGs in England – from 211 when they were set up in 2013 to 174.

HSJ will be tracking the changing CCG landscape of our new map.

New directions

A number of CCGs were placed under legal directions by NHS England last week, for a variety of reasons.

Action is being taken at Coastal West Sussex CCG for “serious performance, planning, financial and leadership weaknesses”, and it now has to carry out a governance review, a “capacity and capability action plan”, and develop a recovery plan.

The CCG said its year-end outturn was forecast to be a £20m overspend because £7m of contingency funding will boost the position in the final accounts. This refers to the 1 per cent “risk reserve” that NHS England has forced all CCGs to hold back from their allocations.

It was required to break even in 2016-17, but said the deterioration was due to “a number of factors, including increased demand for services, a challenging savings target, and investment in services including those to ensure patients received treatment within the national target of 18 weeks”.

Meanwhile, Barking and Dagenham CCG, alongside Havering and Redbridge CCGs (which all share a management team) has received legal directions due to finance and governance issues.

It also has to undertake a governance review and “ensure that it operates within its annual budget for 2016-17 and subsequent years”.

Any new appointments to its executive team or the next tier of management must be signed off by NHS England. The CCG must also abide by any decision made by NHS England about the appointment of new staff.