PLANS to merge a number of governing bodies in charge of a variety of health services in mid and south Essex have been unveiled.

The Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, which covers Braintree, Chelmsford and Maldon, is one of five bodies involved in the proposals and board members are set to discuss the idea in a meeting on Thursday.

Under the the plans, the group would be run by the same accountable officer and executive team as CCG’s in Basildon, Southend, Castle Point and Thurrock.

Bosses say the merger has not been agreed and the proposals could yet be altered during the coming weeks.

In a joint statement, the five boards said: “At the heart of our plan is a commitment to focus future commissioning decisions on ‘place-based’ or ‘locality’ planning and delivery of services.

“We will ensure that the central objective for the local NHS is delivering better patient outcomes and our core principle will be that commissioning issues should be dealt with at the most local level.

“We are seeking to show how there will be as much, if not more involvement for local communities than the current arrangements allow.

“We recognise the strength of our local partnerships and the joined-up working they make possible, as this is the best way to improve outcomes for our residents.”

The proposed merger forms part of a long term plan launched by the NHS back in January which seeks to link health bodies toegther in an effort to “develop and consolidate” their work.

Each CCG board is being asked to approve streamlining of the management and governance processes by moving to a single Accountable Officer and executive team by April 2021.

The bodies will be required to engage with doctor surgeries in their areas, partner organisations, patients and NHS staff before they can submit an application for the merger in 12 months time.

More details of the proposals are available in the latest board papers which can be viewed on the Mid Essex CCG’s website.

Thursday's meeting takes place at Wren House in Hedgerows Business Park, Chelmsford and starts at 1.30pm.