STRUCTURE: Three practice based commissioning groups in Sunderland Teaching PCT’s area are merging to form one consortium commissioning board.

Its draft operating plan for 2011-12 says “a new Sunderland-wide GP Commissioning Board will replace the current three Sunderland PBC groups”.

They were Sunderland Commissioning Network, with 25 practices, Wearside Commissioning Group, with 21, and SunWest Primary Care Commissioners, with eight.

The paper says the board was due to be in place in April, and it is “anticipated” it would become a pathfinder by the summer.

It says: “The initial focus will on the effective functioning of the board, development activities in order to develop the pathfinder bid including identification of initial commissioning responsibilities.”