A collective of clinical commissioning groups in south London has appointed Sarah Blow as their new accountable officer.

Ms Blow will take up her position as accountable officer for Kingston, Merton, Richmond and Wandsworth CCGs in April 2017, and for Sutton CCG from April 2018.

She will appoint and lead a senior management team for the five CCGs.

HSJ reported in October that the CCGs were planning to work collectively under a single leader to streamline decision making and cut costs. They are not proposing a full merger and will keep separate chairs.

Ms Blow is currently chief officer at Bexley CCG, where she has led the move towards centralising orthopaedic surgery in south London. She also played a key role in the development of the south east London sustainability and transformation plan.

The CCG was identified as the worst performer in the country in terms of ensuring patient access to GPs by HSJ analysis, and it was rated requires improvement in July.

Ms Blow said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as the new accountable officer. There is no doubt that there are challenging times ahead for the health and care system, however this is an opportunity for us to work together collaboratively to deliver sustainable and high quality services. I am privileged to be in a position to build on the strong foundations within the system.”

Speaking on behalf of the five CCGs, Andrew Murray, general practice chair at Merton CCG, said: “We are delighted to have made such a strong appointment to this important new role. Sarah has the qualities needed to bring the work of the CCGs together to address the significant commissioning challenges set out within the STP for south west London.”