Surrey Downs CCG is considering a merger with East Surrey, Guildford and Waverley and North West Surrey CCGs to form one larger commissioning organisation. 

 

Background

In June this year, the Governing Bodies of East Surrey CCG, Guildford and Waverley CCG, North West Surrey CCG and Surrey Downs CCG all agreed to explore a potential merger of the four CCGs.  If successful this would create one new commissioning organisation across the area known as Surrey Heartlands from April 2020 (see below):

 

 

Context

The new NHS Long-Term Plan, published in January this year, set the expectation for health and care organisations (i.e. hospitals, mental health and community services, GPs, the ambulance service, commissioners and local authorities) to work more collaboratively across local areas and to take more collective responsibility for improving the health of local populations. 

Surrey Downs CCG is part of Surrey Heartlands which brings together the health and care organisations across most of Surrey into one partnership.  Working together, we have created one set of priorities across our system that all organisations have agreed.  This is summarised in the new Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Surrey.

As part of this move to work more collaboratively, there is also an expectation that CCGs come together across their respective health and local authority areas. 

Over the past 18 months, Guildford and Waverley, North West Surrey and Surrey Downs CCGs have been working much more closely together, with one Joint Accountable Officer and one Executive Team.  So merging the CCGs to create one larger commissioning organisation would seem the logical next step and also builds on these national expectations. 

East Surrey partners (previously part of the Sussex and East Surrey Alliance) have recently joined the Surrey Heartlands system and East Surrey CCG has also indicated they wish to explore a merger of CCGs.

 

What are the key benefits of a merger?

Creating one organisation will help to:

  • Create closer alignment with Surrey County Council: in particular supporting more joined up working with social care, and helping us tackle the wider determinants of health – so working together on areas such as pollution and poor health prevention across our health and care system.

 

  • Support the development of local partnerships: merging our CCGs will allow us to focus on supporting our new local Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs), groups of local health and care organisations (including borough councils and voluntary/community sector members) who are working together across the existing CCG geographies.  Having one CCG means we can focus on a clearer separation of roles; the CCG would retain its statutory duties, with local planning and decision-making devolved from the CCG to the local partnerships.  We will also be able to offer more support, through the ICPs, to our new Primary Care Networks, groups of GP practices working together in local networks to support patients at a neighbourhood level.

    More information on Integrated Care Partnerships and how the Surrey Heartlands system is working is available on the Surrey Heartlands website.

 

  • Create economies of scale and remove duplication: by not running as many boards and committees, e.g. fewer Governing Bodies, and other potential efficiencies of doing things once. And, although not a major factor, a merger is likely to contribute towards the 20% running cost reduction expected of all CCGs this year.

 

  • Support the national direction: with the expectation that CCGs come together across health and care systems, merging now would mean getting on with the process so we can move more quickly to making the improvements we want to make across both our local areas and across Surrey Heartlands.

 

How will having one larger commissioning organisation benefit patients?

In the short-term we don’t expect there to be a direct impact on patients and the public following a merger – this is more of a ‘behind the scenes’ reorganisation.

However, some technical changes will be necessary such as a new CCG name/brand, website and external contact points.  There may also be a change in how some of our partner organisations make contact with the CCG, and some change to internal team structures.  Any changes would of course be widely communicated as appropriate.

Longer-term, the move to create one CCG is part of our wider journey towards developing more joined up health and care, and our overall ambition to improve the health of the local population.  Much of this will be delivered at a very local level, through our Integrated Care Partnerships and Primary Care Networks which, over time, will create tangible improvements to the way care is delivered, better value for money and new and exciting ways of working.  At the same time, we will be able to focus on supporting and developing those services which are best delivered across Surrey, such as mental health and children’s services.

 

Next steps

Following extensive engagement over the past few months, member practices have now voted on whether they approve a new Constitution for the proposed CCG.

There has been a high degree of support demonstrated across the four memberships, with almost 80% voting in favour and the CCGs will be submitting their application to NHS England/Improvement as planned by the 30th September. 

The next stage of the process will be an NHS England/Improvement assurance panel, currently scheduled for 8th October. If successful the new organisation would be formed from 1st April 2020.

 

Do you have any questions/concerns?

We want to make sure that all our members, stakeholders, patients and the public have the opportunity to ask any questions/voice concerns about the proposed merger.  If you would like to make a comment or submit a question, please send this to:

 

Post: Communications Team, Surrey Downs CCG, Cedar Court, 36 Guildford Road, Fetcham, Leatherhead, KT22 9AE

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: 01372 201500

SMS: 07747 476511