The announcement follows approval from NHS England and NHS Improvement, and sits within the framework outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan.
With effect from 1 April 2020 the two newly created CCGS will be:
- NHS County Durham CCG - replacing NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield CCG and NHS North Durham CCG.
- NHS Tees Valley CCG - replacing, NHS Darlington CCG, NHS Hartlepool and Stockton on Tees CCG and NHS South Tees CCG.
The existing five CCGs have been working closely together under a joint leadership and management team since October 2018, and the mergers will be a natural progression of close working relationships which are already effectively established. Dr Neil O’Brien will remain as the single Accountable Officer, supported by two chief officers (Nicola Bailey focusing on Tees Valley and Stewart Findlay focusing on County Durham).
Dr Neil O’Brien said: “Working together as two closely linked CCGs will help us to make the best use of our resources, leading to improvements in health and healthcare services.
“We are working together to efficiently commission high quality services which are equally available to all local residents across County Durham and Tees Valley.
“Over the last few months, we have been seeking views from patients, staff and partners on these plans. Our close relationship with Healthwatch, local authorities and our patient groups has helped to ensure the voice of local people is heard.”
The benefits of working across a larger population base with a shared management resource are already being realised and will continue to grow under the new arrangements. This includes:
- Improvements to the quality of health and care services provided for local people
- Simplified decision making process working to one agenda with shared meetings
- Cost savings and efficiencies
- Further opportunities for partnership approaches, aligning health and wellbeing priorities which support the needs of local people
- Consistent approach to working with Primary Care Networks to deliver greater local clinical leadership and improved health
- Improving the quality and safety of our services by reducing variation and standardising pathways
The new CCGs will retain a focus on localities and their specific needs. This will be driven by the Governing Bodies, which will continue to have representation from the current localities, including GP practices, lay membership for public and patient involvement, local clinical leaders and senior managers.