Brent Clinical Commissioning Group merger delayed until 2021 after consultation, CCG boss tells staff

Brent CCG 2

Brent CCG 2 - Credit: Archant

A merger between eight clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in north west London including Brent and Westminster has been delayed until 2021.

The move will create one north west London CCG, and year-long delay will allow them to focus on "historic CCG financial positions, the development of integrated care and primary care networks, and developing a single operating structure."

The news was revealed to staff in a letter by Mark Easton, who heads up the north west London collaboration of CCGs.

CCGs are groups of GP practices which commission most health and care services for patients.

The group which also includes Ealing, Harrow, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hillingdon, Hounslow, and Kensington and Chelsea, was initially set to join up in April 2020. When a consultation on the plans was launched earlier this year, Mr Easton said it could make quicker decisions, be more efficient and free up more resources for patient care.

At the time CCG bosses told the Kilburn Times: "We see this as an opportunity to accelerate and streamline our systems and processes, reduce duplication and improve the offer of care to north west London residents."

As part of the consultation, which finished on August 24, the collaboration group held 95 events, and met with councils, GPs, and other health groups.

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Further details will be discussed by CCG governing bodies at meetings in September.

Cllr Ketan Sheth, who is chair of Brent Council's community and wellbeing scrutiny panel and the north west London health overview and scrutiny committee, said: "I argued strongly at health scrutiny meetings that April 2020 was too soon given the scale of change which will affect more than 2 million people. By delaying until April 2021 there will be more time for the CCGs to get this ambitious proposal right."

A spokesperson for NHS North West London CCGs said: "We have always said that the merger would take place in April 2020 or April 2021. After listening to feedback from patients, staff, and others it was agreed that it would be sensible to take a little more time and make sure the merger is a success, and that we are not distracted from other important issues like our financial recovery."