Hereford & Worcester

Hereford and Worcester health bodies propose merger

Stock picture of a doctor treating a woman Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The four clinical commissioning groups working across Hereford and Worcestershire could be replaced by a sole group across both counties

A plan to merge four clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) across two counties has been revealed.

There are four bodies covering Herefordshire and Worcestershire and the proposal would see them merged into a sole CCG.

Health bosses say patient care will not be affected and the move, which will cut down on duplication of work, would save almost £2m.

A public consultation on the plan will take place in June.

Clinical Commissioning Groups are the NHS bodies responsible for planning and commissioning local healthcare services.

The four groups - Herefordshire, Redditch and Bromsgrove, South Worcestershire and Wyre Forest - care for a total of 750,000 people.

They already work together in a partnership which plans for the future of health care across the two counties.

All NHS organisations have been asked to cut costs by 20% by March 2020, which equates to almost £2m across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Simon Trickett, accountable officer for the groups, said they already combine governance and decision-making arrangements, making this the "next logical step".

"I would like to emphasise that this won't have any impact on NHS services being provided across Herefordshire and Worcestershire; this is about reducing some of the bureaucracy and duplication that running four CCGs brings," he said.

Ian Stead, of Healthwatch Herefordshire, said it could work for the county, despite there being more representatives from Worcestershire.

"Worcestershire and Herefordshire have got some common interests and shared borders so I think the main thing is to make it work and we've got to make sure Herefordshire's voice is heard properly," he said.

The CCGs have been asked what the move will mean for jobs but have not yet responded.

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