Clinical groups set for merger

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TWO clinical commissioning groups for the borough are to merge into one organisation.

CareFirst and Engage Health have merged to become North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group to help lead government plans to reform the NHS and put local clinicians in charge of health spending on behalf of patients.

Dr Jane Weatherstone, of Engage Health, and Dr John Matthews, of CareFirst, will be co-chairs and the two localities will retain their GP practice membership.

In the future North Tyneside CCG will commission all health services for the borough with a total budget of £305m.

Dr Matthews said: “Unfortunately in North Tyneside we have more people with chronic health conditions compared to the national situation and we face a huge challenge to address those areas where levels of health lag well behind those of the rest of the country.

“We need to close this gap by addressing the health of the whole community, but our greatest challenges are in tackling the inequalities that are evident in the variation of life expectancy across the borough.”

Dr Weatherstone added: “While health services in North Tyneside receive consistently good quality ratings for the services they provide, we still rely far too much on hospital based care compared with the health of our population – and GP led commissioners are in a good place to change this.

“We will be better able to do this as one organisation.

“Our hospital admissions per 1,000 population are 26 per cent higher than the national average.

“We need to make changes to how we manage and treat patients with which much more emphasis on good quality care closer to home and in the community instead of going to hospital.”