HEALTHCARE services across Lancashire and South Cumbria could be merged.

Currently, eight clinical commissioning groups operate across Lancashire and South Cumbria, including Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire CCGs.

But bosses say a single CCG for Lancashire and South Cumbria could be established as early as April next year.

A Blackburn with Darwen CCG spokesman said: “The eight CCGs in Lancashire and South Cumbria are working in partnership to deliver more integrated care for local people.

“This work aims to create a focus for the health and care system to work very differently, agreeing plans to improve the whole population’s health, using partnerships to improve the quality of health services and bringing the system back into financial balance.

“Commissioning leaders have a clear intention of building on the best work undertaken with our partners to improve health and join up health and care services and community assets in neighbourhoods, five local health and care partnerships (Central Lancashire, Fylde Coast, Morecambe Bay, Pennine Lancashire and West Lancashire) and across the whole of Lancashire and South Cumbria.

“A period of formal engagement is under way with local member practices, CCG staff and other stakeholders including providers, local authorities, Healthwatch and patient/public groups to consider options for changes to NHS commissioning in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

“A case for change document is available and is the basis for local discussions.

“This is a technical NHS document intended to begin an engagement process with GP members, partner organisations and other stakeholders of the eight CCGs in Lancashire and South Cumbria.”