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Local NHS organisations to come under single leader

The four clinical commissioning groups in Nottingham and South Nottinghamshire are to consider aligning a number of functions as part of plans to improve healthcare services for local people.

Proposals under review this month by the governing bodies of Nottingham City, Nottingham North & East, Rushcliffe and Nottingham West CCGs would commit partners to developing a unified commissioning function.

The plans involve the creation of a joint committee, which would consider the health needs of the whole population, as well as a single ‘accountable officer’, who would be responsible for setting the direction of health care commissioning for the area.

The move to an integrated commissioning model will deliver increased collaboration between organisations in line with the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Sustainable Transformation Plan (STP), published in November last year.

The STP highlights that if the health and social care system across the whole of Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County does not change the way it currently deliver services or make cost significant savings in its organisations, it could be facing a funding shortfall of as much as £628 million by 2021.

This commitment to creating a joint single management team and accountable officer builds on the well-established history of collaborative working in Greater Nottingham, and is essential to developing a wider partnership between all local healthcare services – with patients at the centre.

A spokesperson for the Greater Nottingham CCGs said: “Nottingham and Nottinghamshire are already among the leading areas in the country in terms of working together to provide better quality of care by joining-up GP, community, mental health, hospital and social care services.

“However, in order to deliver sustainable high-quality care to the populations we serve we need to look beyond our own organisational boundaries to ensure we get the best value from sharing resources.

“That’s why local commissioners are exploring proposals to merge functions as well as developing a fully integrated and accountable healthcare system for Greater Nottingham.

“In Greater Nottingham we are very clear that we can improve the way we organise care and use our resources better in order to achieve better health for local people. But we can’t do it as individual organisations. We need to bring together all those involved in care so that we can deliver better outcomes and experiences for patients within the resources available to us.”

The proposed new integrated commissioning partners aim to work towards:

  • A single process for commissioning healthcare services across the four Clinical Commissioning Groups
  • Closer working between health and social care services, with providers such as hospitals and GPs working together, without the need for patients to be passed from one organisation to another
  • Potential new partnerships to support integration of services, using the best expertise from across the country and internationally.

One of the key priorities for the CCGs over the next two years is to deliver a joint programme of changes to services by involving the community in decision-making, as well as patients, who may be affected. Proposed changes include:

  • Redesigning services to ensure patients are seen at the right time, by the right health professional to reduce unnecessary tests and appointments
  • Delivering more services at home or in the community, so that fewer people will need to be referred to and admitted to hospital
  • Not funding services where there is no, or limited, evidence of effectiveness
  • Supporting everyone to do the things that we can all do for ourselves to be healthier and prevent illness.

This programme is being developed now and will be discussed with local people, and where significant changes are being proposed, formal consultation will take place.

If the proposals are approved by the CCG’s Governing Bodies, the next steps for appointing a single accountable officer and developing a joint committee structure across the CCGs would be decided in July 2017.

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