• CCGs cover Herefordshire and Worcestershire STP area
  • Merger described as “next logical step”

Four clinical commissioning groups in the West Midlands are planning to merge by April next year.

Papers that went to a joint CCG meeting last week revealed that South Worcestershire, Redditch and Bromsgrove, Wyre Forest, and Herefordshire CCGs have agreed to become one organisation.

Between them, the four CCGs cover the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership area.

In a statement confirming the move, a spokesman for the CCGs said the merger was “the next logical step in our journey” and would “reduce the duplication of roles and governance that sit behind the scenes”.

The move would also help reduce variation in care across the region and support its move towards an integrated care system, he said. According to the long-term plan, all of England is due to be covered by ICSs by 2021

He added: “Becoming a larger organisation will provide us with much greater resilience as well as providing a single, strong and consistent vision and voice to partners across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.”

The move is expected to save the organisation’s £2m annually, in line with the national requirement that CCGs cut 20 per cent of their running costs.

It would not impact on how health service was being delivered in Worcestershire or Herefordshire, he said.

The CCGs have been slowly moving towards a merger since late 2017 when the three Worcestershire CCGs announced they would meet in common. In March last year, the four CCGs appointed a single accountable officer, Simon Trickett.

Worcestershire and Herefordshire are both large rural counties with struggling hospital trusts. However, there is relatively little cross-border patient flow and, to date, efforts to integrate care have focused within the respective counties rather than across the STP.