Health groups “land grab” merger idea very bad for borough

The cabinet lead for health on Telford & Wrekin Council says that an idea to merge the area’s two health commissioning groups would sell the interests of people in Telford and Wrekin “down the river” to resolve Shropshire’s huge financial problems.

Health groups “land grab” merger idea very bad for borough

Cllr Arnold England says any such move to merge the area’s two clinical commissioning groups would benefit residents of Shropshire only and shift focus on to their priorities away from the very different health needs and population in Telford and Wrekin.

The idea of a merger has been suggested by Shropshire Council leader Peter Nutting.

Cllr England said: “Let’s not be fooled – this is simply akin to a good old-fashioned land grab justified because someone else is bigger.

“In reality it would use Telford to try to sort out the huge snowballing financial problems Shropshire CCG faces. Take a CCG that is within budget, as Telford and Wrekin is, and merge it with one that has a debt of tens of millions of pounds, as Shropshire has.

 “It beggars belief that the people of Telford and Wrekin’s can think their health needs will be best served by it being annexed by a slightly bigger organisation mired in debt that serves a population with hugely different demands and very different health issues.

“We have different CCGs and councils precisely because we are so very different – Telford is by far the largest centre with a very different and mostly urban population compared with Shropshire which is dominated by a largely rural economy.

“As councils and CCGs work becomes ever more closely linked, perhaps the best way to achieve the efficiencies that the leader of Shropshire is so keen on would be to see how more services between CCGs with the respective councils can be shared, while leaving an independent CCG Board that is free to make decisions on local health care to best meet their residents’ needs.”

Cllr England is writing to all GPs to urge them to support this approach and will be asking the borough’s two MPs to fight any idea of merging CCGs.