• Three CCGs aim to create “single commissioning voice” for North Yorkshire
  • Merger and a single accountable officer were considered
  • NHS England said plans will be treated with “a light touch”

Three clinical commissioning groups could create a joint committee after one ruled out a merger and sharing a single accountable officer.

Scarborough and Ryedale, Harrogate and Rural District, and Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCGs are considering the formation of the joint committee to create a “single commissioning voice” for north Yorkshire.

Scarborough and Ryedale CCG is currently involved in the capped expenditure process covering York and the new arrangement is expected to prevent duplication and improve efficiency.

NHS England has held discussions with the accountable officers and chairs of the three CCGs, with a final decision expected in the next few weeks.

Scarborough and Ryedale CCG chief officer Simon Cox told the governing body this month: “NHS England (Yorkshire and the Humber) have advised that their approach would be a ‘light touch’ to any proposed collaborative arrangements unless there was a clear problem or financial issue that required them to be more involved.”

In June, HSJ revealed that 12 CCGs in the North East and Cumbria were considering the creation of a joint commissioning committee with delegated decision making powers.

The three north Yorkshire CCGs had considered merging, creating a new statutory body through a formal application to NHS England.

Sharing an accountable officer with a single senior management team was another option considered.

However, Scarborough and Ryedale has decided to pursue the joint committee, permissible under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, as its preferred option.

The other CCGs will also consider the plan for closer collaboration at their governing body meetings between now and the end of September.

In a paper to Scarborough and Ryedale’s governing body, Mr Cox said: “Joint committees are a relatively straightforward structure to implement, they are reversible and although they require amendments to the constitution, they are not onerous changes to make and approve.”

He said the CCGs already had arrangements in place that allowed for economies of scale, improved resilience and to be coterminous with the local authority.

“Despite these arrangements, it is clear there is still duplication of work within the CCGs and sometimes a requirement for North Yorkshire county council to duplicate the same work with multiple CCGs,” he said.

“Reducing duplication, as well as improving efficiency, will increase the overall CCG capacity.”

The exact purpose and scope of the joint committee – for example which services it will commission and which will continue to be commissioned by the CCGs individually – has not been outlined in the board papers and is expected to be decided when they meet later this month.