The three clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) have agreed proposals to appoint a joint accountable officer and management team.
The decision – made at yesterday’s governing body meetings of Leicester City, West Leicestershire and East Leicestershire and Rutland CCGs – represents an important milestone in the evolution of collaborative working across the combined area of more than 1.1million patients.
It is anticipated that the move will create a stronger and more consistent commissioning voice across the three CCG areas, which will focus on working together to set high level outcomes for the population as a whole and hold providers to account for delivery. In turn it is also expected to lead to a strengthening of existing locality working, with groups of local providers given increased responsibility for designing services that improve the health of the communities they serve.
Professor Azhar Farooqi, clinical chair of Leicester City CCG, said: “We have a long history of collaboration across LLR and this represents the next logical step. It gives us the opportunity to provide more clarity to providers, while reducing duplication and freeing up people that can drive the kind of system transformation that we need.”
Professor Mayur Lakhani, clinical chair of West Leicestershire CCG, commented: “We believe this joint approach will help us to deliver our plans for improved care for patients throughout LLR. At its heart is a commitment to thinking strategically across our three CCG areas combined with a renewed emphasis on empowering localities.”
Dr Ursula Montgomery, clinical chair of East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG, added: “I have already seen some great examples of collaboration and innovation in practice between our CCGs. I am confident that this move will help us to build upon those as we increasingly work in a more aligned and collaborative way than ever before.”
The recruitment process for the new accountable officer will commence subject to the outcome of consultation with affected individuals. Firm proposals regarding the structure of the joint management team will be developed and consulted on in due course.
The new arrangements will see even closer working between the three CCGs although each will remain as an independent statutory body. However, the CCGs have also agreed to consider the potential benefits of a legal merger. This work is expected to begin in early 2019, with the outcome of the review expected by mid-year.