CCGs are responsible for organising and buying NHS-funded healthcare for their residents. This includes hospital, community health and mental health services.
CCGs are run by GPs, nurses, hospital doctors and other clinicians that the public come into contact with. All GP practices are members of their CCG.
The 'NHS Long Term Plan' has directed that CCGs should be aligned into one integrated care system wherever possible, leading to multiple mergers across the country.
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In November 2018, steps were taken to bring Luton, Beds and Milton Keynes' CCGs closer by appointing a single accountable officer and a single executive team across the three organisations, collectively known as the BLMK.
This new proposal goes a step further by collapsing the three CCGs to create one organisation - the BLMK CCG - with one team and one governing body across the three areas.
Patricia Davies, accountable officer for the BLMK commissioning group, said: "For the last eighteen months, we have been working more effectively across the area to commission services for our population, and we have started to see some benefits.
“By applying for funding as a bigger population, we have been able to roll out consistent policies across the area – not least in perinatal mental health, where we have been able to launch a new service in Bedfordshire and Luton and expand the existing service in Milton Keynes.
“Becoming one single CCG will make us a more influential commissioner and give us more negotiating power, which will allow us to improve the quality of care for our patients.
"It also means that instead of doing something three times, we’ll do it once – cutting management costs, which can be invested into the workforce and front line services.”
The proposal to become one CCG will be submitted to NHS England in September 2020.