A new clinical commissioning group (CCG) combined has been launched, covering an area that includes Luton and Milton Keynes.
The new Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes CCG will be responsible for the planning and provision of NHS funded healthcare for almost 1 million people, and begins operations from today (01/04).
Previously, three separate CCGs covering Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes had been in operation.
The new CCG was previously announced in 2020, with previous work towards merging them having initially taken place from 2018.
CCGs are run by GPs, nurses, hospital doctors and other clinicians, with all GP practices being members of their CCG.
Felicity Cox, Accountable Officer for the new NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (BLMK CCG) and Executive Lead for the BLMK Integrated Care System (ICS), said, “Today we launch the new BLMK CCG, which brings three organisations together as one, allowing us to make better use of our resources, reduce duplication and spread good practice.
“Over the last 18 months, the CCGs have already been working as one team as part of a system-wide effort to respond to the Covid pandemic and support delivery of the biggest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS. This experience has demonstrated the real benefits that joint working can bring.
“As a single CCG we will continue to work more closely than ever before with our NHS Trusts, Local Authorities and other system partners, to reduce health inequalities and improve outcomes for the residents of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes and the communities we serve. The future is exciting as we look to build on the foundations we have laid in the last year.”
A new Governing Body consisting of GPs, Lay Members and Executive Directors has been recruited to lead the new organisation, taking up their posts with effect from today, 1 April 2021. Dr Sarah Whiteman, a Bedfordshire resident and Milton Keynes GP, has been appointed Chair. Felicity Cox, current Accountable Officer for the three CCGs, will continue as AO for the new BLMK CCG and Executive Lead for BLMK Integrated Care System. Dr Edward Sivills has been appointed Interim BLMK Medical Director. Dean Westcott has also been appointed as the new Chief Finance Officer and ICS Executive Finance Lead, commencing on 1 June 2021.
Dr Whiteman said, “The creation of the single CCG gives us a real opportunity to meet the wider healthcare needs of our communities, utilising the greater joint working across health and social care that has happened in response to the pandemic. In developing our plans to merge, we engaged with local people and stakeholders. We know how important it is to retain a local focus and strong clinical voice in each place, and we are committed to this as we look forward towards a more integrated future within the BLMK ICS.
“I truly believe these new ways of working across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes will help us realise our shared vision of improving the health and wellbeing of our population. I look forward to working with our new governing body, our residents and communities, staff and partner organisations to make this happen.”