City and Hackney votes to hand powers to north east London NHS 'super chief'
City and Hackney has ‘reluctantly’ agreed plans for a single accountable officer to oversee NHS commissioning across north east London despite significant opposition from local patients and Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets councils.
Patient groups and local councillors fear the new arrangements weaken City and Hackney clinical commissioning group (CCG) and diminish the patient 'voice' by making local health services far less accountable to local residents.
The new structure will also make it easier for north east London health chiefs to move funds out of City and Hackney health services to bail out struggling neighbours.
Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets councillors jointly wrote to the CCGs asking them not to go ahead because of their concerns about losing local control of health decisions. Keep Our NHS Public campaigners say the restructure was pushed through without any public consultation and will make it easier for NHS services to be privatised.
CCG governors agreed the plans on Friday 29 September after NHS England threatened London health commissioners with legal directions if they failed to support the plans.
City and Hackney CCG was until last week one of only a few organisations holding out against agreeing the restructure proposed by the new East London Health and Care Partnership (ELHCP), formerly known as the north east London sustainability and transformation plan (NEL STP).
The CCG governing body voted 4:2 to approve the plans, with governors who voted in favour making it clear they ‘had no choice’ and did so ‘regretfully’. The new accountable officer is expected to be in post from January 2018. The current chief officers of the CCGs in the area are expected to leave, which local councillors described as a loss of local knowledge and relationships.