CCGs are replaced by ‘integrated care system’ in big health shake-up

CCGs are replaced by ‘integrated care system’ in big health shake-up

by Tom Martin (July 2022)

TWO health organisations in charge of NHS services in Sefton have been abolished as part of a huge shake-up and replaced by a new ‘integrated care system.’

Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and South Sefton CCG were both scrapped on July 1 as the new Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care System (ICS) was launched.

The group’s new chief executive, Graham Urwin, claims this reorganisation of the NHS is “the greatest opportunity I have seen in my lifetime to make a real difference.”

However, concerns have been raised by Cllr John Pugh, a member of Sefton’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, who said the closure of the Sefton-based CCGs could lead to a loss of “local focus.”

It comes a week after the Champion reported how a new health survey published by Healthwatch Sefton showed how Sefton patients struggled to get GP appointments last year.

Cllr Pugh said: “There is a legitimate concern that we will lose local focus and an underlying concern that constantly reshuffling the organisation consumes energy that needs to go into delivering better services.

“Nonetheless it is probably a good thing that GPs are no longer being asked to commission hospital services as well as run their own practices, but it would be a better thing if the NHS functioned as one seamless unit.

“For too long NHS bodies have worked in silos divided into commissioners and providers in the nonsense called the internal market.”

CCGs were first set up across the country in 2012 to organise the delivery of NHS services in each of their local areas in England.

These have now been replaced by 42 Integrated Care Systems (ICS).

The Cheshire and Merseyside ICS, which will be in charge of 2.7million people’s health needs, marks the end of nine local CCGs across these areas.

Those in charge at the ICS say “local influence and decision making within the nine ‘Places’ of Cheshire and Merseyside, which cover the local authority boroughs”, will be retained and that local authorities are included as members of its Board.

Unlike previous NHS re-organisations, they say this “marks a fundamental shift in the alignment and work of health and care services across the region” and is the single largest change to health and care in decades.

Chief executive of NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, Mr Urwin, said: “The creation of NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, and our Integrated Care Partnership, is the greatest opportunity I have seen in my lifetime to make a real difference, to develop excellent partnership working, and yes... to get things right.

“So, on day one, and every day into the foreseeable future, we now have the opportunity to come together, to work together and to make a real difference. Together.”

The new chair of NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, Raj Jain, said: “This is not just another re-organisation of services, but a fundamental change in how we think about, decide upon, and deliver better health and care for the people of Cheshire and Merseyside.”

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