• Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire CCGs exploring plans to merge
  • News comes just over a year after two Bucks CCGs joined together to form single body for the county 
  • Plans include combining ICS and CCG leadership roles 

Three clinical commissioning groups in the Thames Valley are planning to merge into a single organisation covering their integrated care system.

Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West CCGs – which together make up the BOB ICS – are seeking to merge “before” April 2021.

Proposals also include combining the new CCG’s accountable officer role with the ICS executive lead role, as a single leader.

The announcement comes just 18 months after a series of CCG mergers in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. In April 2018, Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern CCGs joined to form Buckinghamshire CCG, while four groups in the west of Berkshire formed Berkshire West CCG.

The new plans were discussed during Berkshire West CCG’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, according to a tweet posted by Healthwatch Reading.

A BOB ICS spokeswoman told HSJ health chiefs across the region had “agreed in principle” there should be one commissioning organisation in the ICS area “before” April 2021. 

It follows the expectation in January’s NHS long-term plan that each ICS should “typically” have one CCG.

The exact planned merger date for BOB has not been given.

BOB ICS executive lead, Fiona Wise, will now work with the three CCGs to discuss the plans with staff and stakeholders in the region, the ICS said.

More details are expected to be released next week.

The BOB ICS spokeswoman said: “The agreement is in line with the expectations set out in the NHS long-term plan that, by 2021, each ICS will have one commissioning organisation. It was further agreed that the accountable officer and the ICS lead will be one role.

“Fiona Wise, BOB ICS executive lead; Lou Patten, chief executive of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire CCGs; and Cathy Winfield, chief officer of Berkshire West CCG will work together to start the process of engaging with staff and stakeholders.

“They have been specifically asked to look at the timescales to bring together the one AO/ICS lead post with one supporting management team.

“It is expected that this will be established before April 2021, subject to agreement.”