Deep disappointment at "railroaded" CCGs merger plan
The planned merger of the NHS group that decides and pays for health services in Telford and Wrekin with its equivalent in Shropshire risks being railroaded through without any opportunity for the public to have their say on the plans.
The warning comes from Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care following today’s decision by the board of the borough’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to progress with the next stage of the merger process. Last week the board of Shropshire CCG met and also decided to go for merger.
Cllr Andy Burford says such changes require public consultation and is warning that the planned merger will harm health care services in the borough: “A decision of this magnitude must surely be subject to some form of public consultation?
“The CCGs have a duty to consult with groups such as the Council’s Health Overview Scrutiny Commission, the patients’ representative group Healthwatch to name but two.
“It beggars belief that such a top-down decision can be imposed on the borough without any regard for the public’s views.
He added that any decision must recognise Telford and Wrekin’s identity is very different from that of Shropshire, while the borough also has very different health needs and a very different budget position; Shropshire CCG has almost a £30m deficit while Telford and Wrekin has a balanced budget.
He said: “The CCG is making a decision based on very little detail as to how our residents’ interests would be protected. They are effectively ready to sign a blank cheque, a cheque that I fear will be used to bail out Shropshire CCG’s years of mismanagement.
“This cannot be at the expense of our residents and their health services.
“The Council has put forward an alternative way to make the savings required by bringing together CCG and Council services at a borough level in an integrated health and social care system that would allow greater focus on local issues rather than creating a big, remote body making decisions that do not focus solely on the borough.
“A new merged CCG will be less accountable for the £50million of health service cuts it will have to drive through.”