THE three organisations that were due to take over from NHS Wiltshire in organising and buying health services are to merge.

After months of working as three separate Clinical Comm-issioning Groups (CCGs), GPs have decided to have one CCG serving the county.

Dr Steve Rowlands, NHS Wiltshire’s medical director and a GP in Trowbridge, said: “There was a reality check about the volume of work coming through to the CCGs and the population base wasn’t big enough.”

Dr Helen Osborn, joint chairman of the West Wiltshire, Yatton Keynell and Devizes CCG and a GP in West Lavington, said: “It’s not a good use of our resources to duplicate the work among three CCGs. Having one CCG will save a huge amount of time and administration.There’s a huge amount of work to be done and the only way we can tackle that is to join together, we can’t do that in small groups.

“Patients are at the heart of everything we do and we recognise the best outcome for our patients and the local population is achieved through wider co-operation across WIltshire.”

The other two CCGs are North and East Wiltshire and Sarum NHS Alliance.

In each of the three CCG areas GP practices will be joined together in localities to discuss issues and feed back to the county CCG.

Phil Matthews, chairman of health and social care watchdog Wiltshire Involvement Network, said: “Our view has always been that there should be one CCG in Wiltshire. It’s a sensible way forward. If there had been three CCGs it could have led to a postcode lottery.”

The CCG will operate in shadow form and work closely with NHS Wiltshire this year before it takes over the reins in April 2013.