• One Kent CCG refuses to contribute to STP running costs – but later backtracks
  • Ashford CCG’s governing body had concerns about “value for money” and lack of evidence of “patient benefit”
  • Two other CCGs in the county deferred decision and will decide tomorrow whether to contribute

A clinical commissioning group refused to contribute to its STP’s running costs, HSJ can reveal.

Last month, Ashford CCG decided – on a casting vote – not to contribute £333,000 to the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership costs. The minutes for the extraordinary meeting, released this month, show concerns about scrutiny around value for money and lack of evidence that patients benefited from the STP.

Deputy chair and audit committee chair Steve Salt – who chaired the meeting – suggested concerns about scrutiny and accountability were shared by other audit chairs in the eight CCGs in the STP area. He added he would like to see the minutes of the STP finance directors’ group meeting.

But the decision was overturned at a CCG meeting earlier this month. HSJ understands Mr Salt has now decided to resign from his role at the CCG for other reasons.

Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCG and Swale CCG also considered the STP contribution at a joint meeting in May but deferred a decision, asking instead for more information. The CCGs will now reconsider the contribution of £323,000 each at their meeting – but this time in the private section of the meeting.

Minutes of the two CCGs’ May joint meetings reveal concerns about how the figures for STP budgets were arrived at and whether work was progressing on projects outside the east of the county, which is anticipating a major reconfiguration of services. “More information was required around controls and monitoring with clear outcomes and deliverables,” the minutes added.

The eight CCGs in Kent share the same accountable officer, Glenn Douglas, who also leads thr STP.

An STP spokesman said: “A paper requesting approval for the budget of the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership for 2018-19 went to partner organisations. The governing bodies of NHS Ashford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCG and NHS Swale CCG asked for added detail. This has been provided.

“NHS Ashford CCG has agreed the budget and a decision from NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCG and NHS Swale CCG is pending.”

Last year, the Kent and Medway STP had a budget of over £8m. This is expected to reduce this year to £6.7m.

Earlier this month, Lesley Dwyer, outgoing chief executive of Medway Foundation Trust, said: “We have been part of an STP for a couple of years and we really need to pick up the pace and say we are going to do things to improve health. We are still all in our own little fiefdoms.”