A MERGER between Swindon's Clinical Commissioning Group will and two others in the region has been given the go-ahead.

The groups in Wiltshire, Bath, and north East Somerset are responsible for the planning, buying and monitoring of health services in those areas.

They will become one organisation in April 2020 after NHS England and NHS Improvement formally approved bringing the three CCGs together.

Chief executive of the new BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group Tracey Cox said: “Getting the go ahead to merge our three CCGs is very positive news.

"Coming together as a single CCG will allow health and care providers in Bath and NES, Swindon and Wiltshire to ensure we are reducing variation in the provision of services.

"We also want to concentrate on supporting people to stay healthy and tackle the causes of illness.

"This merger will also allow us to meet financial challenges, for example through economy of scale cost-savings and the streamlining of governance and administration which means we can invest more of our budget into frontline services.

"I believe that as a single CCG, we will be in a stronger position to improve outcomes for patients, whilst still retaining our local voice.”

Consultations with the public, GPs, staff, providers and other key stakeholders about the merger were largely positive.

The plan will have no effect on the way services are currently provided across the area but will reduce variation in care and standardise best practice so that everyone can access high quality treatment and services, regardless of where they live.

Working as one organisation will help the CCG meet financial challenges by offering greater buying power, eliminating the duplication of administrative support functions and streamlining governance processes.

The savings made can then be invested in frontline services or transformational projects.

NHS England and NHS Improvement South West regional director Elizabeth O’Mahony said: “Bringing together Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCGs into one single, strategic organisation mirrors developments taking place across the NHS as health and care services move to work more closely together for the benefit of local people and employees.”