The must read stories and talking points from Wednesday

CCGs seek counsel

The sweeping away of clinical commissioning groups continues apace in Greater Manchester, where the leadership of four more CCGs is set to be merged with that of the corresponding local council.

HSJ has learned that in Trafford, Rochdale and Oldham the council chief executive is expected to take over the CCG accountable officer role on a dual basis. Wigan CCG has also confirmed its intention to merge the two roles.

It comes after the region’s devolution team told the 10 CCGs in the devolution region to establish a “single commissioning function” with their council.

Until there is a change to the legislation, CCGs will still have to exist as statutory bodies, but their functions will effectively be merged with the council’s social care departments.

In Tameside, the council chief executive took over leadership of the CCG last year, while Salford, Bury, Bolton and Stockport said they were still discussing their leadership possibilities.

The odd one out so far is the city of Manchester CCG, which confirmed that Ian Williamson will stay on as chief officer and heading up Manchester Health and Care Commissioning, which has been established through a partnership agreement with the council.

Manchester is slightly different to the others in that it’s much larger, having recently been created via the merger of three CCGs.

Cold comfort

National leaders have agreed at least half of the £335m winter funding announced in the budget should support trusts that were already buying in extra capacity, HSJ understands.

This will help support the bottom line of hospital providers with accident and emergency departments, which were facing additional pressure on their financial position due to the extra capacity they have purchased.

This would appear to satisfy calls from trust leaders reported by HSJ last week.

The remainder of the funding is likely to be available to areas that can commission new capacity that had not been arranged prior to the budget.

From this, it has been confirmed that £18m will be available for mental health, with an expectation it is spent on supporting A&E services.

The allocations, which are being drawn up between NHS England and NHS Improvement, are expected to be confirmed this week.