Five Norfolk and Waveney clinical commissioning groups are switching to use a London commissioning support unit from April.

The move will see NHS North and East London CSU take over provision of commissioning support for the groups from NHS Anglia CSU and the units will merge to form one organisation.

The CCGs signalled their intention to switch last year due to unhappiness with the service delivered by the Anglia unit.

Jonathon Fagge, chief executive officer of Norwich CCG said in a blog post last October: “for CCGs in Norfolk the issues are relatively simple: it’s too expensive, its delivery is inconsistent, and there is no confidence that it can deliver high quality services that are good value for money without radical change”.

A spokesperson for NE London CSU confirmed that it has been chosen to provide commissioning support to the five CCGs from April. Eight CSUs bid to take over the Anglia service.

“The two CSUs are working to share skills and resources, which will help us to become stronger and more resilient as an organisation. We are confident that this opportunity will bring positive benefits to all our customers, enabling us to improve value for money through greater economies of scale, and allowing us to share learning and innovation from a wider range of health economies,” the spokesperson said.

“The merger will strengthen our ability to meet the needs of existing and prospective customers, which is good news for patients and staff.” 

NHS Anglia employs more than 250 staff and is in the midst of a consultation on a national CSU cost reduction programme.

A statement from the two CSUs released in December said: “a small number of posts may be affected as a result of this cost reduction programme and employees who may be at risk have been notified, are part of a meaningful consultation process and have been offered support.

“The exact number of posts affected has yet to be determined and is dependent on the feedback received from staff during the consultation period.”

The decision brings the number of CSUs down to 17 nationwide; however this is could decline further as units look to work together in order to get a place on the ‘lead provider framework’ being developed by NHS England.

The new framework will allow CCGs to purchase commissioning support services on a 'call-off' basis. Up to 15 organisations are expected to be on it, including CSUs, charities and private companies.