NHS Cumbria CCG and NHS Lancashire North CCG are considering a move which could see boundaries redrawn, moving GP practices in South Lakes and Furness, to join Lancashire North GP practices in a Morecambe Bay CCG.
Both organisations have written to member GP practices, staff, other commissioners including local authorities and NHS England, as well as other partners across Cumbria and Lancashire to ask their views on the move. The potential change was discussed at Cumbria County Council’s Health Scrutiny Panel this week.
For some time now the wider NHS has related to north and south Cumbria differently. The recently announced Sustainability and Transformation Plan footprints have put north and south Cumbria in different areas. Health Education England relates to the county from the North East and the North West. And the same is true for specialist health services with patients in south Cumbria looking to specialist centres in the North West, while those in north Cumbria look to the North East.
Dr Hugh Reeve, Interim Chief Clinical Officer Cumbria CCG, said: “Increasingly Cumbria is seen as being part of two distinct healthcare systems. Because of this we are exploring new ways of working across Cumbria and North Lancashire to support the Success Regime in the north and the Better Care Together programme in the Morecambe Bay area.”
Andrew Bennett, Chief Officer Lancashire North CCG, said: “The developing vanguard programme Better Care Together around Morecambe Bay has refocused our commissioning activity and the way NHS organisations around the Bay work together. It makes sense for patients and staff that we step up our work in this area so we are well prepared for the future.”
Both CCGs see this proposal as a positive change that will bring greater clarity and efficiencies to our commissioning arrangements, as well as paving the way to greater integration of health and care services in both North Cumbria and Morecambe Bay. No decisions have yet been made.
This agreement sets out a process for looking at developing different structures for the two CCGs. Lancashire North CCG’s Governing Body supported plans to investigate the change at a meeting earlier this month and NHS Cumbria CCG’s Governing Body will consider the plans at its meeting in Workington next week.
Approval for any change will be needed from NHS England.