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The eight clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Kent and Medway have been given conditional approval by NHS England and NHS Improvement to merge and form a single CCG on the 1st of April 2020.

Subject to conditions being met, the decision means that from April 2020, there will be one clinical commissioning group for Kent and Medway, with an aim of providing better and more joined up care, preventing ill-health and using staff and funds resourcefully to meet rising demands in the area.

The decision comes after the eight current CCGs across Kent and Medway voted to move to having a single CCG. Before making the request to merge, the eight CCGs gathered views from their GPs, patients, the public, councils, staff, other NHS organisations, the Local Medical Committee, and other parties.

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Dr Bob Bowes, who chairs the Kent and Medway system transformation steering group, said: “We strongly believe having a single CCG will improve the quality of life and quality of care for our patients, and will help people to live their best life.

“It is an important step towards Kent and Medway becoming an integrated care system, with health and care organisations working together much more closely than in the past.

“We would like to thank everyone who took part in the surveys, shared their thoughts at meetings or otherwise contributed their views. Their feedback has helped us ensure the new CCG can deliver everything expected of it.”

Helping Kent and Medway have a more integrated care system, the single CCG will save time, money and effort by freeing up GP time to see patients, and staff and GP time to develop new integrated care partnerships and primary care networks.

The single CCG will also gather in-depth data and insight to better target support to specific groups or communities, such as elderly people, reducing unfairness in access to health services and unacceptable differences in health and life expectancy.

Additionally, having one CCG is supposed to accelerate clinically-led innovation while continuing to involve local people in shaping health and care services.

The approval to create the single CCG has some conditions attached to it which the CCGs believe will be met. These include receiving approval by NHS England and NHS Improvement of the new CCG’s Constitution and clear plans for how the financial position of Kent and Medway will continue to improve.

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