Clare Watson - CCG merge

GP Practices in South Cheshire will vote in September on whether the four bodies responsible for buying healthcare in Cheshire East and West should merge next April.

South Cheshire, NHS Vale Royal, Eastern Cheshire and West Cheshire clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) first announced plans to merge last April.

The idea is that patients who are registered with a GP in either Cheshire East or West would have equal access to healthcare wherever they are in the two boroughs.

It is also hoped the merger would reduce duplication and cut costs – meaning more resources will be available for front-line care in the community – and that the single CCG would have greater influence in the NHS and could make a stronger case in funding bids than the four smaller CCGs.

At a Cheshire East Council scrutiny committee meeting on Thursday, it was confirmed that GP practices across the two boroughs would vote on the merger in September.

Consultation with GPs will take place from August 5 to September 20, each GP practice will have one vote, and all four CCGs must vote for the merger if it is to go ahead.

The result is due to be announced by September 26 and an application for the four CCGs to merge next April must be submitted to NHS England by September 30.

Clare Watson (pictured), chief officer for the four CCGs, told councillors she is “not sure what the outcome will be” but hopes practices will recognise the merger’s benefits.

She said: “We are doing an awful lot of work with GPs to share and make clear the case for change in terms of improving outcomes, reducing duplication and improving funding.

“We genuinely believe that as a Cheshire CCG we can have a much stronger voice.”

Under the plans, the single CCG will have two ‘integrated care partnerships’ (ICPs) – one for Cheshire East and one for Cheshire West.

The ICPs will work with the two local authorities to make sure health and social care services are working effectively together, and they are expected to benefit from extra resources which will come about from the CCG merger.

Residents can find out more about the planned merger and take part in an online survey at


  1. Linda Mapplebeck says:

    Are people so blind they do not see another step to privatisation of Primary Care ? The writing is on the wall for NHS GPs.

  2. Carol Barnes says:

    I think this would be a good idea that would benefit a lot of people.

  3. Susan Withers says:

    Sounds sensible

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