The BOB ICB (Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and West Berkshire Integrated Care Board) took over from the OCCG (Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group) last Friday.
So what will this mean for NHS patient services here?
We still have Oxford University Hospitals Trust (OUH), Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust (OHT) and 70 GP practices in Oxfordshire, but instead for the co-ordination just being for Oxfordshire the new organisation will look after three counties.
Most of the current staff will transfer across to the new organisation but will probably spend the next year trying to work out what their new roles are and how to preserve their positions.
It seems obvious that there shouldn’t be a need for three similar senior positions for each county anymore so some staff should be surplus to requirements.
That is likely to mean even more cost in the short term to cover the costs of redundancy packages.
It also means that some of the additional funding from the Government for the NHS will be spent on the re-organisation rather than on front line services.
Funding will, of course, be shared across three counties as well. So a small corner of the area like Wantage and Grove is likely to be even more lost than it has been as part of Oxfordshire NHS.
Given that the Vale District Council doesn’t like spending money here, it seems very unlikely that an organisation as large as BOB will even know (or care) that we exist.
The real question is will it actually affect the quality of Health Care?
No-one knows at this point, but any major re-organisation generally means that the management will have to spend lots of time planning what they are going to do so I don’t expect anything to improve soon.
The Oxfordshire Health Scrutiny Committee will continue their monitoring role for at least another year so we will at least know if anything changes.
In the longer term, it might mean that it’s easier for patients to be looked after anywhere in the area rather than all acute care being focused on Oxford.
I don’t think that will make any difference to us because the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading and The Great Western Hospital in Swindon will not be part of BOB and they are both easier to get to than the John Radcliffe now.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens.