Future of Mid & South Essex Clinical Commissioning Group

Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (MECCG) is the part of the NHS responsible for planning and buying local health services for the districts of Braintree, Chelmsford (including South Woodham Ferrers – SWF), and Maldon. Further information about MECCG is appended.

MECCG is one of the five CCGs in Mid and South Essex. That area has been an STP = a Sustainable Transformation Partnership and for some time now has had a Joint Committee to act collectively in the planning, securing and monitoring of services.

At MECCG’s Board Meeting on 26 September 2019, which I attended, highly significant decisions were taken about the future for CCGs in Mid and South Essex. The proposal to appoint a single Accountable Officer and Executive Team across the five mid and south Essex CCGs and a proposal to progress with the preparation of an application to merge the CCGs into one commissioning organisation was agreed. Subsequently these proposals have also been agreed by the other four CCG Boards within the Mid and South Essex STP. I understand and support these steps, but there is a vital need for such measures to be taken on a ‘both/and’, not ‘either/or’ basis:

  • It is absolutely right to move towards having a single Accountable Officer and start the CCGs’ merger process to gain strategic, procurement and organisational advantages. This mirrors what is already happening with the three acute hospitals in Mid and South Essex ie Basildon, Broomfield and Southend Hospitals;
  • However, this must not be at the expense of ‘localism’ nor cause stagnation (as with previous NHS re-organisations)
  • So the development of Mid Essex Place, and Places for all the CCGs involved, is crucial alongside any merger; the Managing Directors must be the focus for their localities and those localisms and their requirements must remain paramount.
  • I therefore asked the Joint Committee to agree with my views and commit to delivering the above points?
  • And I also asked how they will include Patient & Public involvement and engagement in all this?
  • I have welcomed the approval for the reconfiguration of acute services in Mid & South Essex and asked that the Joint Committee undertakes a PR and communications exercise to explain the benefits in survivals and improved recoveries this will bring.
  • At the same time, I also asked the Joint Committee to ensure the particular difficulties the acutes’ reconfiguration will cause are fully addressed because of the distances involved for families, carers and friends and to ensure adequate transport and parking is provided coincidentally with all stages of the delivery of this plan.

In reply:

  • The Chair confirmed that the Joint Committee supported the decisions that had been made by the five CCG Boards and advised that he and the other CCG Chairs would ensure an emphasis is maintained on support for local services, and particularly primary care, within each area. He also confirmed that patient and public involvement would be carried out at the appropriate time in the application process.
  • MECCG’s Accountable Officer (chief executive) has confirmed that MECCG will work with the Mid & South Essex CCGs Group to ensure that appropriate information is provided as implementation of the new arrangements progresses.

We will continue to keep a very close watch on these developments and lobby appropriately about it all We will also keep our contacts and readers informed of significant developments.

Peter Blackman
Chair, SWF Health & Social Care Group

Background information about Mid Essex CCG extracted from its website www.midessexccg.nhs.uk on 1 December 2019

Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is part of the NHS and we are responsible for planning and buying local health services. This process is known as ‘commissioning’.

We have an annual budget of approx. £447 million to spend on healthcare for people living in the districts of Maldon, Braintree and the City of Chelmsford.

The health services we buy include:

  • Community services such as district nursing, speech and language therapy, podiatry, community hospitals and stroke rehabilitation
  • Mental health services including psychological therapies, children and young adult mental health support and learning disability services
  • Non-emergency patient transport
  • Continuing health care for people requiring ongoing NHS support
  • Some additional services provided by local GP practices
  • And, jointly with other CCGs, acute hospital services, integrated urgent care including NHS 111 and emergency ambulance transport

The CCG brings together 44 GP practices in the mid Essex area. Our GP member practices elect GPs who are part of our governing body including our Chair and Vice Chair. All GPs in our local area are closely involved in designing the CCG’s plans through regular discussions.
You can read profiles of our Board members here.

We also have a network of patient participation groups (PPGs). PPGs are run locally by volunteer patients and practice managers and help strengthen the relationship between GP practices and their patients. PPGs contribute ideas, feedback and suggestions directly to their practices. You can find out how to join your local PPG here.

We serve 392,000 people who live in the districts Braintree District, Chelmsford City and Maldon District, which together make up mid Essex.

Mid Essex CCG is based in Chelmsford and employs around 150 members of staff across five directorates — clinical commissioning and transformation, nursing and quality, governance and performance, finance and the Mid and South Essex STP Joint Committee.