STRUCTURE: The Surrey and Sussex Commissioning Support Unit is to be closed after being deemed unviable.

HSJ understands that Robert Garner, who NHS England appointed as the unit’s managing director last month, has found it to be unviable.

It is not yet clear why Mr Garner decided it was unviable, although it is one of the smallest units.

It had found to be viable at checkpoint four of NHS England’s assurance programme which took place last month.

Surrey and Sussex CSU will continue to provide services in the short term while NHS England’s business development unit works to agree another solution.

NHS England, known as the NHS Commissioning Board until this month, will, working with the CCGs, look at the options available, which may include merging the CSU with one or more others.

There is no clear timetable for the CSU to be closed.

It lost some of its potential customers late last year when three CCGs in the area instead opted to use South London CSU or Commissioning Support South, which was begun in the South Central region.

The weakest CSUs have around two months left to prove they are viable.

A Surrey and Sussex CSU spokesman said: “We are currently in a period of stabilisation - further improving service delivery and customer satisfaction and determining the sustainable future operating model for our services.

“We have come to the conclusion that [we are] not sustainable as an independent CSU and to ensure clinical leaders continue to receive the highest quality support we are looking at the long term future of our services. This includes considering opportunities for mergers with other CSUs.”