Postcode lottery fears over CCG

FEARS have been expressed that a postcode lottery will emerge with the setting up of the new Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for Wiltshire.

The group, comprising mainly GPs, will from next April take over organising and buying many of the health services for people in Wiltshire from NHS Wiltshire. There were originally three CCGs in Wiltshire but earlier this year GPs decided to have one CCG serving the county.

Despite this, the GPs will continue to have three individual sub-groups that will meet regularly and are in the process of recruiting three directors on salaries of £77,000-£97,478. The three groups cover the south, west (including Devizes) and north east of Wiltshire, not including Swindon.

Dr Steve Rowlands, chair of the Wiltshire CCG and a Trow-bridge GP, was asked how the new group would work, at a meeting of Wiltshire Council’s Health Select Committee last Thursday.

Coun Chris Caswill, who represents Chippenham, questioned what the relationship would be between the CCG and the three sub-groups. Dr Rowlands said there would be a scheme of delegation but over a certain financial level the responsibility would lie with the CCG.

He said: “The group directors will be accountable to Debbie Fielding, the accountable officer of the CCG, but they will be autonomous to the groups and working on group projects.”

One such project, he said, was in south Wiltshire where dementia is being diagnosed and treated in GP surgeries. It had been such a success that it will be rolled out across the county.

Coun Caswill was unclear as to how the CCG and the three sub-groups would work. He said: “I’m concerned about having different services in different postcodes across Wiltshire.”

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