• Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern CCGs “anticipating” formal merge on 1 April 2018
  • Pair have worked under a federation arrangement since July 2016
  • Appointment process for a single chair already underway with the new role to help facilitate ACS

Two Buckinghamshire clinical commissioning groups are expected to merge next year after seeking permission from NHS England.

Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern CCGs are “anticipating a formal merger” on 1 April 2018, following an application submitted to NHS England in the summer.

The CCGs have been working together through a federation arrangement since July 2016 to share back office functions and, according to September’s governing body papers, “merge in all but name”.

The commissioners said a formal merger was the “next logical step” and would “lead to greater efficiencies”.

A decision on the application by NHS England was due to be made at the end of September but has been pushed back to the end of October. It is likely to be approved as the two CCGs met with NHS England prior to submitting the application to make sure it was “appropriate”.

The process of appointing a single chair is underway.

In June, Buckinghamshire was named by NHS England as one of eight emerging accountable care system areas. The CCGs’ joint governing body papers said the new chair’s role “now needs to embrace the ACS leadership requirements alongside the statutory responsibilities”.

They added that although the merged organisation will “require” a clinical chair, in practice the role will “lean further towards a facilitative leadership role” as the CCGs and the area’s one acute trust, Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust, work towards having a single financial control total from April. The paper said sharing finances would “blur the boundaries of commissioning and provision of system NHS service”.

Nominations for the election of a single clinical chair closed at the end of September. Names of potential candidates are not yet known but only GPs who are members of the governing bodies will be eligible for the role. The successful candidate is expected to be announced on 26 October, however, this may now be pushed back given the delay by NHS England.