latest health care news

01.01.11

Big society boost for NHS enterprises

A scheme that the government claims ‘puts NHS staff in the driving seat of innovative projects to transform patient care’ was announced by Care Services Minister Paul Burstow.

15 projects will form the second wave of NHS organisations that want to set up social enterprises, a scheme that gives public sector workers the ability to take over the services they deliver.

The NHS arm of the scheme, known as ‘Right to Request’, gives all Primary Care Trust staff the right to request setting up social enterprises.

The new projects span two thirds of Strategic Health Authorities and include cities like London, Bristol, Leeds and Birmingham. Projects include a wide range of services like increasing access to psychological therapies, improving end of life care and a wider range of children services.

They build on the first wave of Right to Request projects that are already putting their plans into action. These include a specialist health-visiting programme in Derby that is already improving the health and well-being of some the community’s most disadvantaged children and families by offering parenting support and skills. And, a one-stop-shop for homeless people in Leicester that offers vulnerable people medical and outreach services and access to night shelters.

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said: “The Eden Project and the Big Issue show us what we can achieve through social enterprises.

“Instead of reaping rewards for shareholders they plough resources back into the community. NHS staff have the local know-how on how resources can best be used and I want to put them in the driving seat - and Right to Request combines NHS values with business principles in an effective way.

“Already we are seeing projects that are making a real difference. In Leicester, a GP and nurse led project has helped tailor services for the homeless and those with substance misuse problems.

“We want to empower millions of public sector workers to become their own boss and help them to deliver better services. There is still an opportunity for frontline PCT workers to be part of the next wave of the scheme in the autumn.”

Chief Executive of the Social Enterprise Coalition Peter Holbrook said: "Social enterprises working in health and social care have a transformative impact on lives and communities by giving patients a stronger voice in the care they receive and empowering their frontline staff to be resourceful and innovative.

“The Right to Request has been a crucial initiative to support the

development of social enterprises in health and social care where there is a demand and a need for something different, and encourages new ways of delivering a better, more personalised service for the public that gives greater value for money.

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