The four groups responsible for buying healthcare services for patients in Cheshire West and East are set to merge by April 2020.
Governing body members of the NHS Eastern Cheshire, Vale Royal, South Cheshire and West Cheshire clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will all vote on whether to press ahead with the merger at meetings over the next month.
It means that residents should be able to access the same standard of healthcare wherever they live in the two boroughs.
In a joint statement released on Friday, the groups said: “The four CCGs share an ambition to develop better integrated care across Cheshire, bringing together health and social care to provide joined up services and care for our local communities.
“A paper detailing the progress to date on development of integrated care partnerships will be presented by each CCG to their individual four governing bodies in order to update them and to put forward recommendations for a single commissioning organisation across Cheshire.
“The outcomes of the discussions around these recommendations will then be shared with the GP membership organisations of each CCG for further discussion and decision making.”
A report issued ahead of Eastern Cheshire CCG’s governing body meeting on Wednesday states that having just one CCG will mean that all patients in the Cheshire East and West boroughs will be able to access care ‘as close to home as possible and to the same standards and outcomes wherever they live’.
The report also states that long-term financial savings are expected following the merger, due to reduced running costs and business expenses.
Vale Royal and South Cheshire CCGs revealed earlier this month that they need to reduce a forecasted £10 million deficit, while the Eastern and West Cheshire CCGs have also faced recent financial challenges.
The merger was briefly mentioned at Wednesday’s Cheshire West and Chester Council health and wellbeing board meeting.
Dr Chris Ritchieson, chairman of West Cheshire CCG, suggested the move would allow health chiefs to secure the best healthcare choices for patients across the county.
“We have talked on many occasions about joining up healthcare services, and this allows us to join up health commissioning across Cheshire,” he said.
“I would not want it to be perceived as a management restructure. This will allow us to focus on delivering care locally.”
Vale Royal and South Cheshire CCGs will discuss the merger at a governing body meeting on May 3, while West Cheshire CCG will discuss it on May 17, before the next Cheshire joint commissioning committee meeting between the four CCGs takes place on May 25.