Providing key healthcare services: employee-owned City Health Care Partnership

The second of our Big Debate case studies looking at how co-ops can step up to solve problems in their communities

What is the social issue?

With the British Red Cross warning that rising demand will create a humanitarian crisis for the NHS, the need for alternative local healthcare providers is increasing.

The Red Cross isn’t the only organisation to sound the alarm. A report by the House of Lords Committee also raised fears about the future of health and adult social care, as it made fresh calls for integrated health and social care.

Related: The Big Debate – how co-ops show concern for communities

And a 2017 study by the Care Quality Commission described the NHS as standing on a burning platform. It said the model of acute care that worked well when the NHS was established cannot deliver the care needed by the current population.

What are co-ops doing?

Employee-owned City Health Care Partnership is working to address these issues, designing healthcare services that minimise the need for acute care in hospitals through early interventions, community-based treatment and promotion of healthy lifestyles.

A community interest company, CHCP allows permanent staff to buy a £1 share in the business. It employs around 1,900 people in Hull, East Riding, Lincolnshire, Knowsley, Wigan and St Helens.

The community children’s nursing team has achieved an Investing in Children Membership Award

The company was spun off from the reorganised NHS in 2010 through the Right to Request programme, with around 1,000 employees choosing to buy a £1 share. As shareholders, they can attend the annual general meeting, sit on the executive board or the Community Partnership Forum, and be trustees of the CHCP Foundation.

The business offers more than 80 services in community settings, including end of life, district nursing, TB clinics, community paediatric nursing, health visitors, school nurses, sexual health, dentistry, public health, prison health, GP practices, minor injury units, eating disorders and psychological wellbeing. All profits are reinvested in the business, its colleagues or the local community through its charity, City Health Care Partnership Foundation.

CHCP works in partnership with a number of healthcare organisations, including Hull Clinical Commissioning Group, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals, NHS Humber Foundation Trust, Yorkshire Ambulance Services and East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group. It also runs a Community Partnership Forum, which sees various external community and voluntary organisations meet three times a year to offer external input.

What is the impact?

Healthcare inspectors praised the employee-owned business for the quality of its services. A report by the Care Quality Commission found that patients and their relatives were consistently positive about the care they received and commented on “kind and compassionate” staff who treated patients with dignity.

One of the services cited for outstanding practice was end-of-life care, which enabled patients to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions, live at home and die in the place of their choice. Others were rated as “good”, including community health services for adults and children, young people and families, urgent care services and termination of pregnancy services.

City Health Care also carries out a Social Return on Investment audit – the most recent showed a return of £38 for every £1 spent. And a user survey showed that 96% of respondents would recommend the service based on their overall experience.

Since 2010 CHCP has given out over £180,000 in small grants and staff sponsorship.

  • If you’re attending this year’s Co-op Congress in Wakefield, join us for our Big Debate on Friday 30 June at Unity Works (2.30pm) or read the report after the event:
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