Plans to combine healthcare services in west Berkshire with those in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire have been slammed by councillors.

NHS services in Reading, Wokingham, West Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire could soon be planned and funded by a single body.

The Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care System (BOB ICS) – a new body which brings health and care organisations together under one umbrella – is seeking view on its plans to create a single commissioning body.

Councillor Graeme Hoskin, RBC’s lead member for Health and Wellbeing, said he would “love for the plans to go away and not happen” but accepts the proposals are going to go ahead.

The Berkshire West, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) become a single body as soon as 2021.

Cllr Hoskin said: “My view of how healthcare can work most effectively is local partners working collaboratively together.

“This movement towards the wider area is a bad idea.

“However, I have been a councillor for long enough to know that you have got to deal with the world in front of you rather than the one you would like.”

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A report was presented at Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Adult Social Care, Children’s Services and Education committee last night (Monday, October 21).

Fiona Wise, lead officer for the BOB ICS, and Cathy Winfield, Berkshire West chief officer, answered questions on the plans.

Ms Winfield said she feels “confident” the work done to bring local leadership together across health and social care ahead of the wider changes to the NHS will secure local decision-making.

Councillor Tony Jones, lead member for Adult Social Care, hit out at the health-centric nature of the reports, saying “it has very little to do with social care and as long as there is that mindset we will fail to make progress”.

He said the plans were almost the same as a system scrapped six years ago.

Cllr Jones said: “It was only in March 2013 that the strategic health authorities (SHAs) and the primary care trusts were abolished.

“The main reason given by the government for an exercise that cost almost £2 billion was the SHAs being too remote.

“It’s almost as if the wheel has turned all the way around and we have come back to almost the same position but just with different names.”

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Cllr Jones also criticised the lack of a true consultation which he said was either a lack of confidence or arrogance.

Ms Wise responded: “This engagement exercise is not part of any process we are required to do. It was a genuine intention to have a dialogue.

“There is very clear advice that we don’t consult but engage.

“We wanted to try work out what it is that is really important to our partners.”

The ‘engagement exercise’ on the plans ends at midnight on December 1.

The BOB ICS also want to appoint a single accountable officer and a shared management team for the whole area.

There are currently two accountable officers – Ms Winfield for Berkshire West CCG and Louise Patten for both Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire CCGs.