Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) look set to merge under a single organisation from April 2020 as a move was “agreed in principle” with national officials.
Commissioners announced last May that the “time was right” for the county’s four CCGs to become a single organisation to serve the public.
The county currently has four CCGs which include Lincolnshire West, Lincolnshire East, South Lincolnshire and South West Lincolnshire, having been previously set up to place more decision-making power for commissioning treatment and care directly in the hands of local GPs for their patients.
Now, the groups look set to merge together into a new commissioning body which would come into effect from April 1.
John Turner, chief officer for the four CCGs, said the organisations would now work to establish the new body.
Mr Turner was appointed to his position back in April 2019 in a move to help the organisations “work closely for the benefit of patients”.
“We can confirm that NHS England and Improvement has agreed in principle to the proposed merger of Lincolnshire West, Lincolnshire East, South Lincolnshire and South West Lincolnshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), with a new Lincolnshire CCG to be established with effect from April 1 2020,” he said.
“We will continue to work hard to ensure the new CCG is properly established so it can deliver benefits for people across Lincolnshire.”
Under the plan, the four CCGs would merge to become NHS Lincolnshire CCG.
According to Health Scrutiny Panel for Lincolnshire papers, the new organisation is likely to include four localities which would reflect existing CCG boundaries.
Commissioners said that the merger has received support from member practices and partners across the county.
The merger would not affect provision of hospital services run by local NHS trusts or other providers.
The move will be one of 18 new CCG groups created as mergers take place across the country.
As of April 2019, there were a total of 191 commissioning groups in England. responsible for around £79.9 billion of the NHS budget last year.
However, that number will fall to 134 as 74 CCGs merge to create new bodies as part of shake-up measures in the NHS Long Term Plan.
Commissioning groups are responsible for planning and commissioning care in their local area.