STRUCTURE: Two of Suffolk’s three clinical commissioning groups have merged, it has been announced, while the remaining two CCGs will share some senior posts.

Ipscom, which covered 15 practices and a population of 164,000 around Ipswich, has joined with the East Suffolk CCG. The new body, which will continue with the East Suffolk CCG name, covers a population of 385,000.

West Suffolk CCG is unchanged, and covers 235,000 patients.

The two CCG structure will take effect from April 2012. They will aim to be fully authorised in the first wave of CCGs, so will be ready before Suffolk primary care trust is abolished in March 2013.

Papers for Suffolk PCT’s November board meeting say the two CCGs will share some board level posts. The papers say: “The emerging CCGs in Suffolk have opted for an arrangement which minimises these costs by sharing through a single management team across both CCGs with a shared accountable officer and chief finance officer.”

Each CCG will have its own chief operating officer. They will lead a commissioning team responsible for “a range of duties including practice engagement, public communications, strategy, GP prescribing and implementation of service redesign including referral management.”

COOs are expected to be appointed in January 2012.