A HEALTH boss has admitted there has been a lack of debate about a proposed restructuring of local NHS groups.

The plans would see three clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) merged into one. CCGs are responsible for planning, designing and paying for local NHS services.

The merger of Berkshire West CCG — which covers Reading, West Berkshire and Wokingham — with Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire CCGs, was debated at a recent public meeting at West Berkshire Council.

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But councillors said “only two minutes” was given to discuss the plans at the health and wellbeing board, which met on January 30.

Now the chairman of that board has admitted he should have given the issue more time. 

Councillor Rick Jones (Con, Tilehurst & Purley), lead for public health, said: “The short and simple answer is that it was very poor chairmanship from the chairman. I didn’t allow enough time for the item at the end.”

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He made the comments while answering questions during a public meeting of the council executive on February 13.

Cllr Jones said: “We have to bring in our senior partners from partner organisations. We have an implicit promise that we will keep the meetings roughly to time. 

“And we did overrun by 15 minutes, but that was as much as I felt it could overrun.”

He said the initial plans had a “very full discussion” in the October public meeting — but that was before any detail was known about the proposals. 

He said: “The detailed proposals were then discussed in the November informal meeting, which is not public. But that produced a very detailed and robust response on the proposals at that stage.

“But I agree, I didn’t allow enough time for a full debate. This is not the last time the topic will be discussed.”