One of our local GPs has drawn attention to a very important NHS consultation on how our GP surgeries should be organised:
The NHS Long Term Plan was published last January 2019. One of many suggested changes was that each STP should become an Integrated Care System (ICS). To help achieve this, NHSE would like there to be one CCG for each STP area. It is not explained, but the reason is to give the STP/ICS legal footing. The CCGs are set up in law by the Health and Social Care Act 2012. The STP/ICS are a later idea, and currently only have legitimacy insofar as it is shared by their constituent CCGs.
The changes would mean moving from the current 191 CCGs to just 44, one per STP “footprint”. The Plan suggests that should be achieved by April 2021, but in SE London they want achieve it by 2020.
The consultation period is now! There is one consultation event for each of the 6 boroughs/CCGs (currently boroughs and CCGs are co-terminus). It does not give you the date until you click on the Eventbrite link, but the Lewisham one is on
Tuesday 16th July, 16.30-19.30
St Laurence Centre, Bromley Road SE6 2YS
I would please ask you to sign up for the event, and encourage others to do the same. Things you can think about asking include:
Will mergers on this scale cause a loss of accountability? Local accountability was a big feature of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act. They may say that there will be sub-committees at borough level, but will these have decision-making powers?
Will meetings still be held in public? The Act says that CCG Governing Body and certain other meetings must be held in public. If the CCG is at SEL level, you may have to travel a long way to attend meetings, and much may be about other parts of SEL in whch you have little interest/knowledge. They may say local meetings could still be held in public, but there will be no statutory responsibility to do this.
Will clinicians still have the same influence? This was another big feature of the PR around the 2012 Act - more clinical involvement, less managerial.
Has it really been made clear what is proposed? The website does not say anything about mergers!
How meaningful are these consultations? What will happen if local GPs vote against merger?