Council leader warns CCGs merger will “fleece” borough

The planned merger of the NHS group that decides and pays for health services in Telford with its equivalent in Shropshire will harm health care services in the borough.

Council leader warns CCGs merger will “fleece” borough

The warning comes from Telford & Wrekin Council Leader Shaun Davies who says the merger of the county’s two Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will be a bad move and not in the best interests of healthcare for the borough’s population.

Cllr Davies says that any merger between the two CCGs would see health funding and resources being diverted out of the borough to Shropshire.

Telford and Wrekin’s CCG has a balanced budget while Shropshire CCG has had a mounting budget deficit, currently at around £28 million. The planned merger would save around £1 million a year. Cllr Davies is urging the NHS to consider an alternative way to make the necessary savings.

He today met with the senior officer and chair of Telford CCG to make clear his opposition to the merger which the CCG will discuss next week

He said: “This is simply Telford and Wrekin being fleeced to sort out Shropshire’s financial problems and years of poor management.

“We put forward an alternative to bring together CCG and Council services at a borough level in an integrated health and social care system that would allow us to focus very closely on things here on the ground. This approach would make similar savings while ensuring control over health services remains as close to the people it serves as possible, rather than creating a big, remote body making decisions that do not focus solely on our residents but a much bigger population.

“We are two areas with very different populations and very different health needs and challenges. Sadly the NHS wants to ignore our solution and plough on regardless.

“This feels like the whole ‘Future Fit’ debacle again - Shropshire takes over, Telford and Wrekin loses out, robbed to pay off Shropshire’s debt.

“We will fight this tooth and nail – we cannot be the convenient cure for Shropshire CCG’s years of financial problems and mismanagement.

“I have urged the CCG to explain their plans to residents, consult with them and our Health Scrutiny councillors. Sadly I am told this will be imposed on the borough without any say.

“I urge our MPs to call for better funding for NHS services here and in Shropshire to avoid this crazy situation.”

Cllr Davies also criticised the timing of the publication of the NHS plans without consultation the day after local elections as a “cynical ploy” as many new councillor posts such as Health Overview Scrutiny positions (responsible for holding NHS trusts to account) will not be filled for another few weeks.

Cllr Davies spoke to BBC Radio Shropshire, broadcast 9 May 2018: