Welcome to the bumper edition for November and December of our Healthcare roundup for our clients and contacts working across the NHS.

In this month’s newsletter Partner Peter Edwards talks about mergers, collaboration and joint working for CCGs and our usual roundup of our latest sector insights and upcoming events.

What I'm talking to my clients about

Peter Edwards, Partner

Peter specialises in public law and governance advice for our health and regulatory clients. In addition to handling a caseload of judicial reviews in the High Court and Court of Appeal, Peter is heavily involved in organisational and structural change programmes, public consultations and answering many of the tricky governance questions that Board Secretaries have to ponder from time to time.

He has played a big part in Capsticks’ work to develop primary care at scale. He advised the National Association for Primary Care on the implementation of its “Primary Care Home” model, and is a Board Member and Tutor on the joint NAPC/Capsticks/HFMA Diploma in Advanced Primary Care Management.

What I’m talking to clients about:

I’m talking to clients in CCGs about their plans for greater collaboration; joint working and merger. The NHS Long Term Plan indicated that there would be typically 'a single CCG for each ICS area', with CCGs set to become 'leaner, more strategic organisations’. As there are only 44 ICS areas in England, this could eventually result in a 75% reduction in the number of CCGs in the country.

Many CCGs recently applied to NHS England for approval of their merger plans, with a view to mergers being effective from 1st April next year. My role includes advising those CCGs on the steps they need to take before making their applications in order to comply with the relevant legal provisions and their own constitutional requirements.

Some examples of the frequently asked questions I have been helping clients with are:

  • Is public consultation required before a CCG can submit a merger application?
  • Does a merger application require the support of the CCG membership, and if so should there be a membership vote?
  • How will assets, rights and staff transfer from the current CCG to the merged organisation?
  • Who needs to “sign off” the constitution of the new merged CCG?
  • How will the merged CCG fit with the governance of the ICS?
Practical support for governance leads:

In some of my conversations with clients I’ve been told that CCG governance leads sometimes feel a little isolated in their organisations, and would welcome an opportunity to network with their peers and share knowledge and experience.

On 26 February, we will host another meeting of our CCG Governance Leads Network. The event will be the second instalment after our successful pilot networking event on 2nd December, which covered FAQs on CCG mergers, issues relating to workforce, premises and contracts and explored how a CCG Governance Network could best support senior governance professionals. If you are interested in receiving details of future events, then email us at events@capsticks.com.

Please do get in touch if we can help you deliver a CCG merger or on any other governance issues that impact on your organisation.

Events and conferences

We are constantly planning new events so visit our events page to see what's coming up.

Where to meet us

Healthcare Inquest Seminars
Capsticks Leeds office | 5 February
Capsticks Birmingham office | 11 February
Capsticks London office | 12 March

The role of the Medical Examiner is now being implemented and we are delighted to have at each of our seminars the relevant Regional Medical Examiner, which presents an invaluable opportunity to hear exactly how the new Examiners are going to integrate and work within the system, and the implications for your organisations and clinicians alike.

We will also be discussing the question of witness support at inquests. Witnesses often find the process stressful as their care and treatment is open to close scrutiny in a public forum – they need support to present their care in a professional manner that is consistent with their obligations, and those of the Trust, in being open and transparent. We will discuss why this is support necessary, how it can be implemented and what can go awry when it is not provided, looking at some well publicised examples. Plus there will be a case law update presented by our expert inquest lawyers!

We expect engaging debate with presentations and Q&A sessions and there will be plenty of opportunities to network with your peers. To register your place at one of these events, please email events@capsticks.com.

CCG Governance Leads Network
Capsticks London | 26 February
Following on from a very productive inaugural meeting earlier this month, Peter Edwards will host another networking event in early 2020. This instalment will provide updates on ways of collaborative and joint working within CCGs, as well as address some of the main issues voiced by senior professionals during the first session. To register your place at this event, please email events@capsticks.com.

Please click here to ensure that you continue to receive our insights and event invitations.


In case you missed them, here is a round-up of our most recent health and social care insights.

Next steps for Primary Care Networks

In order to realise the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan and maximise the opportunities that are available, Primary Care Networks will need to continue to develop. Read more.

Supreme Court finds dismissal automatically unfair even where
decision-maker is unaware of the true reason for dismissal

The Supreme Court has found that an employee was unfairly dismissed for making protected disclosures despite the fact that the dismissing manager was unaware of the disclosures when she made the decision to dismiss. Read more.

Medical Malpractice and Clinical Law Insight: Winter 2019

We consider the latest developments in medical malpractice and product liability, evidence and procedure, quantum and inquests. Read more.

Medical records: if it’s not written down it didn’t happen?

Care needs to be taken when making records of clinical consultations or treatment. The time-pressures of modern practice mean the creation of a comprehensive note is easy to overlook. Read more.

Covert recordings by patients: Ms Mustard, in the exam room,
with the tape recorder...

Whilst critical of a patient’s behaviour in making a series of covert recordings of consultations with clinicians, the High Court has concluded that making those recordings did not breach the GDPR. Read more.

CCG Merger – Workforce Countdown

With many CCGs now set to formally merge in 2020, we examine the potential workforce implications, including joint working, pre-merger reorganisations, and staff transfers. Read more.

The increase in violence against healthcare and emergency service workers

The year on year increases in assaults by service users and members of the public on staff working in healthcare and the emergency services are a significant concern for both workers and employers. Read more.

Supreme Court awards £2m to inventor of Electrochemical Capillary Fill

The Supreme Court recently handed down a landmark decision which clarifies the law about when an employee inventor will be entitled to share in the profits. Read more.

The CQC’s annual State of Care report: key takeaways for NHS providers

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published its annual State of Care report. Learn more about the key takeaways from an NHS perspective in our latest insight. Read more.