The eight clinical commissioning groups in Kent and Medway will merge to form a single clinical commissioning group from 1 April 2020 after NHS England and NHS Improvement gave formal approval.

Dr Navin Kumta, who has been appointed clinical chair of the new NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The eight CCGs have been working together more and more over many years and by doing so we have improved the quality of health services across Kent and Medway. But we’ve recognised there are challenges which could not be overcome by the eight CCGs as individual organisations. Joining forces as a single CCG is the natural next step.”

Wilf Williams, Accountable Officer for the new NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It took an enormous amount of effort from many people across the CCGs and the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) to pull the merger proposal together. On behalf of all the CCG governing bodies and the STP senior team we would like to thank everyone involved.

“There is still much to be done to shape the new organisation and develop the Kent and Medway integrated care system. We are obviously all intensely focused on supporting the response to Covid-19 and that will continue to be our priority for the foreseeable future, which means some of this work needs to be deferred until after the immediate pressure of the pandemic passes.

“But, looking ahead, the merger will offer a significant opportunity to drive forward improvements to how health and care services support the people of Kent and Medway.”