THE possibility of a nurses and therapists-led social enterprise providing NHS services by spring 2006 has become a real possibility, following discussions with a Primary Care Trust.
The board of East Elmbridge and Mid Surrey Primary Care Trust (PCT) has announced that it is to support further work to create the patient focused, not-for-profit company which will deliver nursing and therapy services to the PCT. The PCT will now proceed to formal consultation under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) regulations so that the new company can go live on 1st April 2006.
In July 2005 the PCT Board approved in principle the establishment of a not-for-profit limited company known as Central Surrey Health, which will deliver improvements to patient care and work within a ‘can do' and enabling culture.
The company will be co-owned by the 700 employees currently working for the PCT across nursing and therapy disciplines, and will use established primary care contracting routes (specialist personal medical services) to provide NHS services (similar to contracts used by GPs).
Central Surrey Health will use a social enterprise model with a focus on investing in the local community and adding ongoing value.
Jo Pritchard, joint clinical lead for the development of Central Surrey Health said: "We are really excited to be part of this development, which will be the first of its kind nationally.
"The PCT is very fortunate to have so many highly skilled and dedicated members of staff, and by forming this new company we will be able to use their skills to ensure maximum benefit for patient care.
"By creating a ‘can do' culture where health professionals who co-own the business are at the forefront of decision-making we also expect to improve recruitment and retention of staff. The benefits of a limited company include organisational stability, culture shift and responsiveness to need."
Joint clinical lead, Tricia McGregor, added: "Patients will benefit from improved access to co-ordinated care, that will be tailored to meet their needs and delivered as close to home as possible. As part of our work we will ensure that patients have access to teams of highly skilled nursing and therapy professionals to aid health promotion, self managed care and new models of care."
Staff and the PCT's representatives have been involved throughout the process. Initial consultation, which has taken place with stakeholders and commissioners in the wider community, has found that commitment and support for the proposal is high.
Alan Kennedy, Chief Executive at East Elmbridge and Mid Surrey PCT, said: "The PCT Board has made it clear that creating Central Surrey Health is the preferred way of delivering nursing and therapy services in the future so I am pleased that we can now take the next step and begin formal consultation with staff.
"By making the decision to establish Central Surrey Health we will be well positioned to deliver important benefits to patients and staff. The NHS is experiencing a period of unprecedented change nationally and locally with new policies and strategies. Central Surrey Health will be ideally placed to deliver healthcare within this changing environment."
The Department of Health has been kept advised on the proposals, which are in line with national policy.