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Two Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS Halton CCG and NHS Warrington CCG, are searching for ways to cut their running costs by 20 percent and requesting providers to share their thoughts about the future direction of the organisations.

The clinically-led statutory NHS bodies that are responsible for the planning and commissioning of healthcare services in their respective areas have by 2020/21 to reduce its costs for administrative and corporate overheads by 20 percent.

According to the CCGS, both organisations have worked to identify areas of savings and cost reductions however have exhausted all internal options for reducing spending, suggesting that they cannot meet the new budgetary constraints individually.

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When considering what could be done to make the savings and at the same time meet the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan, the CCGs have been exploring all potential options, including; mergers across Cheshire, Mersey, Mid Mersey and Halton and Warrington, integration with the Local Authorities, alignment of commissioning across a wider footprint.

A joint meeting of the NHS Halton CCG and NHS Warrington CCG Governing Bodies took place on 7th August 2019, where three options were highlighted as the most viable from a long list of possible solutions.


Option 1 – Formal merger of the two CCGs

This would build on the current integrated working arrangements but will mean the establishment of an entirely new CCG, with a single management team, governing body and one set of statutory duties to be delivered, coterminous with the local authorities.

Savings would be made as the duplication would be greatly reduced. In addition, this would support the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan, retaining a focus on ‘place’ across both Halton and Warrington, whilst supporting the streamlining of commissioning and reducing running costs.

Option 2 – Do Nothing

This option would be to remain as is, with two separately accountable CCGs. There are already some benefits in terms of the integrated management team, the move to a single functional base and the alignment of some work programmes.  However, there will still be a lot of duplication in terms of governance arrangements, with two governing bodies, accounts, commissioning plans, work programmes etc.

This option would maintain the status quo but does not offer any benefit in terms of economies of scale nor deliver the required reduction in costs or fulfil the vision of becoming a strategic commissioner in line with the NHS Long Term Plan.

Option 3 – CCGs integrate with their respective Local Authorities

This option would be integration as it would not be possible for the CCG to fully merge with the Local Authority as a single entity as Local Authorities and CCGs are different legal entities with separate statutory responsibilities.

This option would also require a considerable amount of time to implement, even with complete sign up of all organisations and a level of duplication would remain as CCGs are accountable for delivering the financial and constitutional targets. In addition, this option may not meet the financial requirement to achieve a reduction in the running cost allowance by 20% in the mandated timescales.


All three options are now being considered and the CCGs are requesting feedback from providers, patients, the public and third sector organisations regarding the best route to take, asking stakeholders to complete a short survey.

A statement released by NHS Warrington CCG said: “During September, all the feedback will be considered as part of the case for change for each of the options and will be used to inform the decision making.”

A decision is expected by the middle of September.

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