Many CCGs are planning mergers for 2020 - Are you ready?

By Lee Ronan, Commercial Director, CSL

With nearly half of Clinical Commissioning Groups proposing to merge in April next year or 2021, the NHS will see its largest set of consolidations in one year since 2006, when the number of Primary Care Trusts was halved.

What will this new NHS landscape look like?

Some of these proposed mergers still have to be approved by NHS England (NHSE), but the landscape of the NHS will be dramatically changed. NHSE is encouraging mergers, particularly to help cost savings, and has changed its rules to make it easier to merge. These merges also progress the NHS with its vision for ICSs covering the whole of England by 2021.

One area of concern being raised though is the financial impact on areas whose CCG is in a relatively healthy position as they merge with others in the red. CCGs merging with those suffering financial problems face working within a reduced cash envelope.

Will your territories need to be restructured as a result of these proposed changes?

With most proposed mergers coming into force in April 2020 now’s the time to take stock and measure the impact on your sales teams.

Maintain Alignment

Staying aligned with the NHS structures ensures your sales teams are best faced to deal with the multitude of challenges they face, whether that be access, formularies, or financials.

Ensuring territories are practical

As great as it can be to create a structure where sales and/or potential are evenly balanced across all your territories, you need to ensure they are all workable in the real world. Overlaying motorways and A roads can aid you with this.

Fallow areas

Perhaps at present you have consciously decided not to work some of these CCGs? What do you do now if one of these CCGs has merged into a target account? Do you now work it?

Localised impact

Do these changes impact some areas more than others? Yes, they do. Perhaps this impacts your response and how you communicate these changes to your field teams?

Let the field decide

One approach we have seen more and more of recently is devolving the power over decisions like these to the local field teams. Their local intelligence should aid making the right decision.

Impact on Formulary

Another area to think about is the potential impact on the formulary status of your brand in these new CCGs. Although the CCGs merging have, in theory, been working closely together historically, are they 100% aligned on formularies?

Primary Care Networks (PCNs)

Or is now the time to stop worrying so much about CCG alignment and start to build territory structures around the primary care networks that have recently formed? One challenge this bring is a traditional postcode district-based structure doesn’t fit completely with PCN’s.

A glimpse into the future

As I said earlier, not all the proposed mergers have been approved, and some have been delayed until 2021. Events of Dec 12th could also have a major impact on any future changes. That said here is a little glimpse of what the future could look like after April 2020.

To briefly explain the map above, green areas are new CCGs that have received merger approval. Orange are those still awaiting approval.

Moving towards optimised territories

CSL’s MapMyTerritory software will allow users to understand the implications of the planned mergers, whether they involve CCGs from more than one territory and what the performance of the newly drawn localities might look like. By using a mapping tool you can ensure your territories are well thought out – increasing travel efficiencies and the overall balance of territories, thus increasing the productivity of sales reps.

We are delighted to offer a limited number of trials of our MapMyTerritory solution. 
For more information on any of the above, including the free trial, please contact Lee Ronan at 
leer@CSL-UK.com or call 01483 528305.