Health chiefs are pondering plans to merge six clinical commissioning groups across southwest London into one single body as part of a major NHS shake-up.

Board papers confirm there are ongoing discussions to consolidate Croydon, Kingston, Richmond, Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth CCGs.

Bosses believe now is a good time to consider the proposals, after working separately for more than a year, in a bid to “do things better together”.

But it also forms part of the NHS Long Term Plan, published in January, as commissioners look to streamline costs and work more efficiently.

One document, published on March 7, reads: “We have been working together as six CCGs for over a year and we think we can do things better together, for the benefit of our patients.

“The national NHS Long Term Plan and its emphasis on the new primary care networks, and the indication that NHS England expects to see CCGs coming together in each STP [sustainability transformation partnership] area.

“For southwest London this means that we are exploring what functions we could hold across south west London as a single CCG.

“A key part of the discussions were that we should delegate to borough level, to ensure local accountability and local delivery.

“We also need to keep a clear focus on how we all deliver better health and care for the people in each of our boroughs, and move more resource to frontline health and care services.”

CCGs, set up by the Health and Social Care Act 2012, are clinically-led statutory NHS bodies which commission healthcare services across local areas.

And STP areas are geographical “footprints” for areas across the country where authorities draw up plans on how they will serve their areas.

But details as to how a single unit would operate currently remain limited as discussions appear to still be in the early stages.

It comes as NHS England looks to consolidate CCG bodies across the country, with a raft of mergers approved by bosses during the past few years.

A spokeswoman for the six CCGs in southwest London said: “The NHS Long Term Plan sets out that areas across the country should be served by one CCG as opposed to several. This would mean a reduction in management costs which would then be re-invested in frontline NHS services.

“The six CCGs across south west London already work very closely together, but we have also started having early discussions with our GP members and stakeholders about how we might come together in the future.”