• Seven CCGs would merge into three under new proposals for Sussex
  • Would mean CCGs match local authority footprints
  • No significant job losses expected

Sussex’s seven clinical commissioning groups could merge into three, while a nearby CCG could potentially leave the area’s sustainability and transformation partnership.

The proposals, expected to go to governing bodies next month, would lead to:

  • West Sussex’s three CCGs – Coastal West Sussex, Crawley, and Horsham and Mid Sussex – becoming a single CCG with a population of around 855,000;
  • High Weald Lewes Havens, Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford, and Hastings and Rother CCGs merging, creating a single CCG covering East Sussex with a population of just over 800,000;
  • Brighton and Hove CCG remaining as it is but working more closely with the East Sussex CCG. Brighton and Hove CCG would have a smaller population than the others at around 290,000; and
  • East Surrey CCG likely moving from Sussex and East Surrey STP to the Surrey Heartlands integrated care system.

The proposals would cluster the CCGs around the area’s top tier local authorities in an effort to support the development of integrated care partnerships and primary care networks.

No significant job losses are expected from the changes, which will need to be approved by both NHS England and the CCGs themselves, although some staff may end up working in ICPs or PCNs.

The Sussex CCGs would have a single strategic commissioner management structure and supporting functions. Adam Doyle, who is the accountable officer for all the CCGs and senior responsible officer for the Sussex and East Surrey STP, would remain as the accountable officer for the new CCGs and STP SRO.

Staff were told about the proposed changes yesterday. Governing bodies have been discussing potential changes in commissioning arrangements for some time but will need to formally approve any changes at their next meetings.

Advantages are likely to include lower running costs – partly from having fewer governing bodies – and more effective commissioning at scale. The footprints of the proposed CCGs would allow greater integration with local authorities and more integrated commissioning.

In a statement, the Sussex and East Surrey CCGs said: “We are currently discussing with our CCG governing bodies what the future of commissioning arrangements should look like across Sussex and East Surrey to bring the most benefits for our populations. This includes proposals to merge some of our organisations into new commissioning bodies in line with the footprints of our local authority boundaries.

“These proposals would enable us to commission more efficiently and effectively for our populations and would allow more focus on improving health outcomes and reducing health inequalities. To achieve this, collaboration with local authorities is particularly important as local government are responsible for public health spending and a wide range of services that influence people’s health.

“The CCG governing bodies will be considering these proposals in June with the view of making recommendations to apply to NHS England to formally merge.”