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95% of CCGs have finalised boundaries and member practices, says Nicholson

Some 95% of clinical commissioning groups have now finalised their boundaries and decided which GP practices will be included, according to NHS Chief executive Sir David Nicholson.

His claim comes despite the BMA and RCGP's calls for CCGs to merge to give them greater stability and economies of scale.

But speaking at the NHS Commissioning Board's second meeting last week, Sir David, who is also chief executive of the board, told fellow board members: ‘Most CCGs have agreed their constituent practices and their geographies. Over 95% have done that now.'

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC deputy chair and a GP in Leeds, said he still expected further mergers from CCGs.

He said: ‘A lot of hard work has gone into CCGs clarifying this on the ground, with some painful discussions in some parts of the country. But this is a stepping stone. I would anticipate we do see further mergers or changes as the authorisation process develops.'

Sir David said he expected many to jointly commission care with neighbouring CCGs and with local authorities and that many commissioning support units had merged to bring their number down to around 24 from around 50.

‘We can see now how they are emerging,' he said.

He acknowledged there was significant financial risk to the board if CCGs did not want to buy support from the CSUs they'll be hosting for next four years.