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The four Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the Black Country and West Birmingham – Dudley, Sandwell & West Birmingham, Walsall and Wolverhampton – are proposing to merge to create one CCG.

According to NHS Dudley CCG, a merger will help the four CCGs to deliver on their commitment of improving the health and wellbeing of patients across the Black Country and West Birmingham.

Additionally, the merge would also help reduce organisational running costs, freeing up money which could be better spent on supporting local healthcare services.

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The CCGs have already started working together and aligning teams and committees, and now share a senior leadership team, headed up by a single chief executive, Paul Maubach.

Local relationships and clinical leadership are central components to the way in which the CCGs work and this will be retained through place-based teams in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, West Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

Currently, four Governing Bodies oversee the work of the CCGs, which include representation from GPs, nurses, secondary care doctors, managers and system partners.  However, the Governing Bodies have indicated that a merger would be more beneficial for the Black Country and West Birmingham areas.

Paul Maubach, Chief Accountable Officer for the Black Country and West Birmingham CCGs, said: “Our Governing Bodies recognise the benefits of a single team and a single merged CCG to improve our ability to support the health and wellbeing of people in the Black Country and West Birmingham.

“I want to reassure you that whatever a future commissioning organisation might look like, our decision-making will continue to be clinically-led and we will remain committed to the relationships which we hold in each of the five places we serve.”

The four CCGs have confirmed that no decisions to merge have been taken yet and now seek feedback from member practice GPs, partners, patient representatives and other key stakeholders about the potential merger. This conversation will continue until the 7th of September 2020.

A decision about future commissioning arrangements will be determined by a vote of the GP Members after all feedback has been considered, NHS Dudley CCG has outlined. If there is support to merge, then the four CCGs would submit a merger application to NHS England and Improvement for a final decision.

If the four CCGs merge, this would happen on the 1st of April 2021.

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