Over two thirds of GPs in Sandwell, in the West Midlands, have voted to reject plans to split NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG.
There had been a proposal to divide the CCG, in a move deemed ‘the biggest reorganisation in the region in recent years’. However, it was announced at a CCG meeting on Wednesday 26th June that 71% of GP members preferred to remain as a single CCG, covering Sandwell, Perry Barr and Ladywood.
The local NHS trust, which supports over 700,000 people, has welcomed the GPs’ decision, having expressed concerns that the development would further delay the completion of Midland Metropolitan Hospital, based in Smethwick. Despite this, the city’s LMC believed that a vote against the split would be a ‘disaster’.
The governing body are due to discuss how this vote will impact the area’s health services on 3rd July, in a meeting that the public are invited to attend.
Last month, an NHS foundation trust in Birmingham took over two GP surgeries. Meanwhile, Birmingham has become the second city to use Babylon GP at Hand, but patients in the Midlands will be registered with the London network.
CCG accountable officer Andy Williams said: ‘While our commissioning boundary remains the same, this does not mean business as usual. As a CCG, we must continue to develop robust relationships with our health and local authority partners across Birmingham and the Black Country to ensure we can continue to improve healthcare for local people in Sandwell, Ladywood and Perry Barr.
‘This includes delivering our drive for stronger GP services and the development of the Midland Metropolitan Hospital, supported by services that are more appropriately delivered at scale across Birmingham and the Black Country.’
Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS trust chairman Richard Samuda explained: ‘We welcome the clear and decisive decision by local primary care leaders to retain the integrity of the Integrated Care model that we have been building for some years in the two places covered by the Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG.
‘The CCG process has clearly given all stakeholders a chance to express their views and we now need to move forward on a shared basis.’
Chief executive of City and Sandwell Hospitals Toby Lewis said: ‘Whilst well over 90% of western Birmingham practices supported the SWB option, most institutional stakeholders elsewhere in the city expressed dissatisfaction with the current arrangements.
‘Through our place-based alliances, better working across borders on public health, and through both STPs we need to ensure that that concern is addressed by actions.
‘Likewise, a minority of practices in Sandwell expressed a preference to stand alone within the Black Country and we need to make sure that the creation of the care alliance in the borough, and the support given to primary care networks, addresses those ambitions.’