STRUCTURE: Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group is looking for an “independent partner” to help it conduct a “strategic review” to ensure the sustainability of the West Hertfordshire healtheconomy.

HSJ understands the review has similarities with work commissioned in February by Monitor, NHS England and the NHS Trust Development Authority in 11 “financially challenged” health economies.

As with that programme, private sector consultancies are understood to be bidding for the work in West Hertfordshire.

The review is being led by the CCG but will involve all the major organisations in the local health economy, including West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust, Hertfordshire Community Trust, Hertfordshire Partnership University Foundation Trust, and Hertfordshire County Council.

According to its 2013-14 annual report, Herts Valleys will face a potential funding gap of £70m in five years unless action is taken to change services.

CCG chair Nicolas Small said the review was designed to provide “detailed information, analysis and recommendations” to help implement Herts Valleys’ clinical strategy.

It will focus on how the long term sustainability and quality of services can be ensured “within an overall health budget that is under significant pressure”, he said.

Dr Small said the partner would be appointed around the end of the month. It will support the CCG during the first phase of the review, which will begin in October and take about three months. The review will try to address questions including “how well patient needs are currently met; what will be the future needs of patients; and what kinds of changes to services and organisations might be necessary to meet those needs”.

Under the work commissioned by Monitor, NHS England and the TDA earlier this year, 11 challenged health economies have received support from consultancies to help with strategic plans that deal with the “particular local challenges they face”.