Health services in the West Country could join forces to focus their resources on frontline services and end the “postcode lottery”.
The clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire are closely aligned – they already abbreviate to BSW – but a formal merger is now on the cards.
The talks come after Tracey Cox was appointed as the chief executive of all three bodies.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the B&NES CCG on Thursday, she said: “We’ve formed a commissioning alliance across BSW. We’ve been thinking about reorganisation and whether we should formalise the arrangements.
“We will be taking a paper to our next board meeting. We believe it is a recommendation we would like to follow through to help us be sustainable.
“The main benefit from a patient perspective is in reducing the variation around commissioning.
“It’s been called a postcode lottery. Depending on where you live you get a different service offer. This will reduce that across BSW.
“It doesn’t help clinicians to have different clinical priorities. We’ve been working to align those priorities to have a combined approach.
“It makes for more efficient ways of working, you can get economies of scale.
“There’s a requirement for us to reduce our running costs and do more for less.
“People say managers and bureaucrats are bad. It’s important to put as much money as we can into frontline services.
“By working together, we can make better use of our budgets.
“We can look across three hospitals to compare and contrast. There’s nothing like peer challenge to make clinicians think. There are opportunities to share learning and good practice.”
Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter