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03.04.19

Multi-million-pound cuts approved as Derbyshire CCGs enter merger

Derbyshire CCGs have agreed unprecedented £70m cutbacks as they sealed a landmark merger of the region’s health bodies.

The four CCGs in Derbyshire – Erewash, Hardwick, North Derbyshire and Southern Derbyshire – have now officially merged, with the new NHS Derby and Derbyshire CCG bringing together 116 local GP practices to care for over a million patients in the region.

At the meeting of the four former CCGs, plans to make £69.5m in savings by next April were also approved, a year after the CCGs made £51m in cuts to their troubled budgets.

The new CCG has an annual budget of £1.65bn and will oversee 450 staff.

The changeover saw redundancy pay-outs total £965,000 as six executive staff lost their jobs, with a new executive team led by Chris Clayton in place since 2016 to oversee the merger.

Paul Wood, who was the chairman of the Southern Derbyshire CCG, said: “When the (original) CCGs were formed, there was a lot of optimism and possibly some naivety.

“It was already apparent how much the four organisations had to work together, but that need has become even more apparent.

“Just like mining for gold, the new organisation comes out of a lot of tonnes of rock, or in this case out of a tonne of paper.”

Avi Bhatia, the former chair of Erewash CCG, has been appointed as the chair of the new Derby and Derbyshire CCG, and said the merger will help bring about much-needed improvements to allow patients to “explain their story to one person, once, instead of to many different people in the NHS.”

“There are advantages to being small and advantages to being large, but it is really important that we make the best of this, take the best bits of the current organisations and take them forward.”

He also said that they faced “really difficult decisions” as the organisation needs to make £69.5m in savings over the next year.

The Derbyshire CCGs met to discuss merger plans in August last year as they explored ways to tackle a combined £95m deficit after being ordered by NHS bosses to make significant savings.

All four CCGs said a merger was “the best way” to deliver future commissioning across the Derbyshire STP area, with a merged organisation able to benefit from efficiencies and the ability to move and improve at a much faster rate.

They said: “This option offers the best opportunity to address the financial deficit position in Derbyshire and provides a single legal entity for providers and local authorities to engage with.”

Image credit - Marbury

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