The nuts and bolts of setting up a social enterprise

Posted on November 16, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Social enterprise | Tags: , , , , , , |

Pulse | 16 November 2009

Emma Wilkinson takes a look at what social enterprises can do for PBC

What is a social enterprise?

Social enterprises are businesses, but unlike limited companies that make profits to line the pockets of shareholders, they are driven by environmental or social principles, and surplus funds are reinvested to further those goals. So the community benefits from any profits made.

The Social Enterprise Coalition ( says there are some 62,000 social enterprises in the UK with a combined turnover of at least £27bn.

Mo Girach, social enterprise lead for the NHS Alliance, says: ‘There are three elements to social enterprises. They are designed to tackle social objectives, such as health inequalities. Any profits made are reinvested in the local community. And local people and staff have the ownership of their services.’

If you generate the bulk of your income from trading and use most of your profits to further social or environmental goals, your organisation might be classed as a social enterprise.

Models for a social enterprise include:

• A community interest company (CIC) – a legal form created specifically for a social objective, overseen by the CIC regulator to ensure it does not deviate from its mission and that its assets are protected (

• Industrial and provident society (IPS) – this is the usual form for co-operatives and community benefit societies, and is democratically controlled by members.

• Companies limited by guarantee or shares – these can have a social mission written into their memorandum and articles of association, but are not regulated.

• Group structures and charitable status – in these cases the tax breaks associated with charitable status can be an important factor.

How do they differ from a limited company?

The key difference is that a social enterprise is set up to fulfil a social goal rather than a financial goal. But social enterprises are businesses and need to make a profit to be competitive, remain afloat and to keep investing in their social vision. They are not an easy option for someone wanting to avoid the legal technicalities and governance arrangements of a limited company.

Dr Mike Dixon, chair of the NHS Alliance, says: ‘It’s a way of setting out business principles but making sure the business is there for the patients and not for shareholders.

‘The steps to setting one up are similar to those for a limited company – you need a lot of advice, you need to decide your basic vision and what sort of partnership it’s going to be, and who is going to be a part of it.’

Mr Girach adds: ‘A true social enterprise has in its constitution that profits are reinvested and there are no shareholders. That is a key point. There might be shareholders but that is in terms of ownership rather than profit so they are more social enterprise members.’

What are the advantages for PBC?

Setting up a commissioning group under a social enterprise model means GPs are less likely to be accused of lining their own pockets – a suggestion that has surfaced repeatedly in the past few years. It may also be an easier route for organisations wanting to work as both provider and commissioner.

Dr Dixon explains: ‘It shows that the profit motive is not an issue but at the same time gives a businesslike approach.

‘There’s another element that’s quite important if you are a commissioner.

I think it allows a certain blurring of boundaries when it comes to also having a provider role.

‘Social enterprises are becoming more common in PBC – not rapidly but PBC has been a slow process – and they are very logical.’

Richard Oliver is business manager at Nene Commissioning, a not-for-profit community interest company of 76 practices in Northamptonshire that started life as a limited company.

‘Trying to get 76 practices under one umbrella is a challenge and there was a huge amount of discussion about the structure that might be suitable. We started off as a limited company because it was a known legal entity but we decided that didn’t reflect why the organisation got together. So we looked around to see how we could demonstrate it wasn’t just a money-making exercise for doctors but that it was about patients.

‘The model that most clearly suited what we already had but that could move us into the social enterprise arena was a community interest company. We retained nominal shares and there is limited liability but at the same time the money is retained for use in the business.’

Any disadvantages?

Disadvantages to being a social enterprise may have more to do with misconceptions surrounding their function rather than a problem with the business model itself.

‘I think people don’t understand the calibre of credibility and true benefits they bring and think they’re small businesses,’ says Mr Girache.

‘The other problem is commissioners don’t embrace social enterprises and tend to go with what they know, for example the foundation trust, which are mutuals.

‘There is a lot of work to be done between commissioners and providers in raising awareness of social enterprises. This is something the Department of Health’s social enterprise unit is working on.’

Dr Dixon agrees: ‘A lot of people see social enterprises as rather woolly and something done by people in socks and sandals rather than business suits, but that’s not true and there are lots of examples of successful social enterprises. Look at John Lewis.

‘The other thing is that there are people in social enterprises who are not as they seem. It is easy to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. If it does take off we will have to look very closely at social enterprises and check people are who they say they are – not one thing masquerading as another.’

Why has the government been so keen on social enterprises?

It is not just the current government that is keen on PBC groups setting up social enterprises, with the announcement of a £100m pot for health and social enterprises in 2007. The Conservatives have also hinted they may be the way forward, with talk about social responsibilities as well as a focus on the ownership agenda.

‘I think there are a number of reasons the Government is keen on social enterprises,’ says Mr Girache. ‘The ownership factor is a big reason. Being able to say to people “over to you – deal with it”. There is an incentive for people to get a little bit back and also a feeling that in some policy areas, such as health inequalities, things haven’t moved. PCTs have been working on these for 20 years and sufficient progress just hasn’t been made. Social enterprises are an alternative.’

So what are the first steps in setting one up?

Nene commissioning’s Richard Oliver says the first thing to do if you are interested in setting up a social enterprise is to make sure the PCT is on board with the proposed change. Then you need to decide what kind of organisation you want to be.

‘Do a lot of preliminary work before you see a solicitor as there is a lot of information out there, for example on the Social Enterprise Coalition website, to inform your decision. Then you need to get legal advice, and I would recommend choosing a solicitor with national experience.’

Dr Mike Dixon adds: ‘You need to form the right relationship first before you do anything else. There is no point hoping to gel with practices that don’t talk to each other.’

Are there any pitfalls?

With the appropriate business and legal advice and a clear plan of what the company wants to achieve, the process should be fairly straightforward, but there are potential problems to consider before taking that leap.

‘People often think social enterprises are not businesses but a form of charity that doesn’t have to make a profit – this is nonsense,’ says Mr Girache.

‘You need to think who your competitors are and what you have over them. Social enterprises focus on quality rather than feeding shareholders’ pockets.

‘The other thing is to do proper market research. You will have to deal with some aggressive providers and if you don’t understand the market and what your niche is, you will fail.’

Dr Dixon advises: ‘Don’t expect organisational form to be the solution to everything and don’t be too optimistic about what you can achieve; be realistic.’

Mr Oliver adds: ‘When it comes to legal advice, make sure you only fund what you need to as you can incur a lot of costs.’

What about funding?

To get off the ground, in addition to PCT resources, there are various sources of funds for social enterprises, including patient capital, grants and favourable loans, details of which can be found in the Good Deals 2009 Social Investment Almanack.

In June 2009, Social Investment Business took over the management of the DH’s social enterprise investment fund, and along with Partnerships UK is responsible for the £100m fund (£70m is now left) for start-up and existing social enterprises in the health sector over the next three years.

But the NHS Alliance would like to see more incentives to catalyse the social enterprise model.

Dr Dixon explains: ‘There are sources of funding available, for example from the social enterprise unit at the DH, but we produced a report three or four months ago pointing out there should be preferential treatment for people funding social enterprises in the form of tax advantages, the ability to get capital and VAT relief, in order to make social enterprises build a bit faster. It needs to be pushed further.’

Richard Oliver says: ‘Our funding comes through the PCT like any other PBC cluster and is based on population size – which for us is 650,000.

‘The advantage of being so big is that our money is pooled so we can fund a team working on our behalf rather than having to do it ourselves in house.

‘We looked at it and realised there was no way we were going to be able to do that and the day job of looking after patients, but by pooling the resources we can have a much bigger team – there are 10 people here – running the PBC side of things.’

Emma Wilkinson is a freelance journalist

More information

The Third Sector has published The Social Investment Almanack to showcase the different types of social investment.

It includes a comprehensive directory of social investors, finance providers and support organisations as well as many examples of different models.

Good Deals 2009: The Social Investment Almanack Deals 2009: The Social Investment Almanack


Focus on… social enterprise

Pulse | 13 November 2009

This month’s Focus on… looks at social enterprise models and what they can do for PBC. Here, Rebecca Chaloner outlines the Department of Health’s commitment to the concept.

Social enterprise models are about connecting with and investing in communities, empowering staff and working in partnership to deliver innovative services.

The social enterprise sector is diverse, with more than 6,000 schemes estimated to be delivering health and social care in the UK. This figure continues to rise as growing numbers of health and social care professionals investigate social enterprise as a viable option to tackle unmet needs and address health inequalities.

Sharing the same public-sector ethos as the NHS, social enterprises reinvest surpluses into services and the community and run on business principles that improve quality and efficiency.

Clinicians are committed to delivering high-quality patient care, and some may feel frustrated by a system and processes that restrict their ability to achieve the change they desire. Social enterprise, with its scope to innovate and be flexible to local need, is one way to empower clinicians to deliver care that is truly responsive to patients’ needs.

Social enterprise is not for everyone, nor is it for all services. However, it is an important option for those looking for a way to deliver a wide range of health and social care services as we move towards a more responsive, modern and targeted healthcare system.

Social enterprise is a way for PBC groups not only to support the commissioning of services but also to provide services in a way that enables them to address unmet local needs. It also offers the potential to forge a new partnership between professionals, users and the local community.

The Department of Health wants to ensure that social enterprises are in a position to add value to current services and that commissioners, through a range of providers, can offer choice and quality to patients, as well as value for money.

In line with its commitment in the NHS Next Stage Review, the department is encouraging the creation of new social enterprises to deliver primary and community services. To facilitate this, PCT staff have been granted the ‘right to request’ to set up a social enterprise from their PCT. This allows staff to explore setting up a social enterprise to deliver services if they believe that gaining the independence and flexibility will enable them to improve services and outcomes for users. The department is now working with a number of ‘right to request’ proposals and supporting them in developing their ideas to transform services.

The journey towards establishing a social enterprise requires determination and vision but there is support available through the £100m social enterprise investment fund (SEIF). The SEIF provides business advice as well as seed funding for start-up social enterprises and development loans for existing businesses. The fund is available to anyone in England operating, or wishing to start up, a social enterprise in health and social care.

The department is committed to supporting social enterprise as a way to increase social cohesion in communities, improve health and wellbeing and reach beyond traditional means of delivering care.

Rebecca Chaloner is head of the Department of Health’s Social Enterprise Unit

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Aetna UK

Posted on November 11, 2009. Filed under: Commissioner, Social enterprise | Tags: , , , |

Aetna UK | accessed 11 November 2009

Aetna UK is dedicated to supporting PCTs and other commissioning authorities to improve patient outcomes and reduce overall costs. Aetna UK combines UK-based operations with U.S. expertise in order to customize solutions for its clients.

Being ‘commissioners’ ourselves, we truly understand what it takes to maximise health gain within available resources. We bring significant breadth and depth of experience from the U.S. and are well-positioned to deliver a differentiated perspective.

Aetna UK is part of an on-going expansion of Aetna’s international businesses, with London serving as the operations centre for both commissioning services and Aetna’s UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa expatriate business. 

Vincent Sai is Vice President and Managing Director of Aetna UK and is based in our London offices. Meet the Aetna UK Management team

Aetna Corporate Overview

Established in 1853, Aetna has been a trusted name in American healthcare for over 150 years. Integrity, reliability, and commitment are key to everything that we do. We are experienced in commissioning services and offer a broad range of health management services and health insurance products.

We have relationships and contracts with more than 783,000 healthcare professionals and facilities in the US. Globally, we have relationships with over 740 facilities, including 90 in the UK.

Our clients include public sector and government sponsored programmes, employer groups and individuals. Consistently, surveys recognise us as one of the most ‘doctor-friendly’ healthcare companies.

Partnership is key to our success. We work with some of the most complex organisations in the world today and believe that success can only come by working alongside our clients in order to create customised, practical solutions to solve their healthcare needs.

For more information, visit .

The Aetna Way

At Aetna we put the people who use our products and services at the centre of everything we do and live by a core set of values.


Customer Profiles

NHS South Birmingham

NHS South Birmingham and Aetna have entered a partnership — the first of its kind, to redefine how healthcare is delivered in South Birmingham. This unique public-private partnership brings together expertise from two world-class organisations that will share best practices to implement innovative programmes and services for the benefit of patients in South Birmingham. We are calling the partnership “Out in From Together” which sets the tone and direction for how we want to work — partnering to lead the way to improve health and health services in South Birmingham. Read our Q&A to learn more about the partnership and key areas of delivery. For more information about NHS South Birmingham, visit


LONDON | 8 September 2009

NHS South Birmingham and Pathfinder Healthcare Developments launch two pioneering services to tackle urgent health needs and risks

NHS South Birmingham and Pathfinder Healthcare Developments CIC (PHD cic) have partnered with Aetna Health Services UK to develop new ways of working to improve health outcomes in their respective communities. These two partnerships demonstrate how public and private entities can successfully work together, and have resulted in the launch of two new services that support each organisation’s larger strategic initiatives.

The first service, a telephone care management programme, is a nurse support service designed to help patients manage their long term health conditions. The second, an online health risk assessment tool, gives people a picture into their current and future health status, and provides them with an achievable action plan to address their greatest health risks. Both provide the National Health Service (NHS) and General Practitioners with innovative approaches to managing health care costs while improving quality through personalised care and support.

NHS South Birmingham and Aetna have teamed together to redefine health care delivery in South Birmingham. NHS South Birmingham is transforming the way health care is delivered to their local population and developing skill sets that have a positive and long-term effect on the population’s health.

“This is an exciting opportunity to learn from a company who has proven expertise in delivering quality services, effectively targeting and engaging individuals and, importantly, managing cost to improve patient experience and give them more choice around health services and their individual care,” said Moira Dumma, Chief Executive, NHS South Birmingham. “This requires collaboration across all stakeholders, and our unique partnership with Aetna unlocks the potential within the health economy to share best practices, improve commissioning expertise and engage the entirety of our population, including those most in need.”

Pathfinder Healthcare Developments (PHD) is a community interest company operating as a social business. PHD has grown from an innovative partnership between three large inner city GP practices based in the Sandwell area. Their work with Aetna supports a larger project to implement innovative new practices, services and ways of working to support their diverse patient populations and the quality of primary health care services.

“Aetna’s bespoke approach to working is what is most appealing,” said Dr Niti Pall, Chair, PHD. “There was no ‘off-the-shelf’ solution that they tried to implement. Rather, they listened to our needs, worked with us to devise solutions and areas of support, and most importantly, co-develop solutions that were appropriately translated for the British market.”

Having both a primary care trust and social enterprise company engage Aetna demonstrates Aetna’s ability to work with different types of organisations, and how best practices from the private sector can be successfully translated to the public sector. It also points to a shift in the way primary care trusts and providers are thinking about delivering additional health services—and how they can jointly address the needs of their populations by utilising the experience of the private sector.

As one of the leading diversified health care benefits companies in the U.S., Aetna has been recognised for its advancements in medical management and health information technology. Recently, the company has embarked on exporting these innovations to support health care reform across the globe.

Notes to editors:

1. The online health risk assessment tool is one of the most comprehensive on the market available to the general public. Upon completing a questionnaire about health and lifestyle habits, the tool will generate a risk score. An action plan is also automatically generated that includes suggestions on how to address current health conditions and also reduce or even prevent future ones. Additionally, the tool offers “healthy living programmes” that can be taken online to address individuals’ immediate health needs. Among the included programmes are “Stress Relief,” “Get in Shape,” “Cancer Fighting” and “Healthier Diet.” South Birmingham residents can access South Birmingham’s bespoke tool by registering on; Patients of Smethwick, Hollybush and Cape Hill Medical Centres can access the online tool on

2. Over 17.5 million people in the UK have a long term condition (Improving Chronic Disease Management. Accessed December 4, 2008 at, 45% of which who suffer from more than one. For patients with more than one long term condition, health care costs are six times higher (DeVol R, Bedroussian A. An unhealthy America: The economic burden of chronic disease.The Milken Institute. Oct 2007.). 80% of GP visits relate to long-term conditions. The steep rise in diagnoses of long term conditions and increasing costs for providing care for these patients are forcing a change in the way that commissioners and GPs provide health services in such a way to help manage rising costs while still providing excellent and quality services.

3. Aetna’s care management programme is a telephone-based support service for patients who have two or more long term conditions. Delivered by registered nurses, the service provides patients with additional support to help change their health outcomes by changing their health behaviours. Powered by Aetna’s leading data analytics and informatics tools and backed by an experienced clinical team trained in motivational interviewing techniques to deliver highly personalised care, the service aims to close the care gap by connecting patients to resources to support their journey to a healthier lifestyle.

4. Aetna is a leading health care company, commissioning services for approximately 37.2 million people worldwide through a broad range of health management services and health insurance products. Aetna has relationships with more than 1.3 million health care professionals around the globe, demonstrating the company’s commitment to providing customers and individuals with access to safe, affordable, high-quality health care. Building on its more than 150-year history, Aetna is recognised for its dedication to cooperating with doctors and hospitals, employers, patients, public officials and others to build a stronger, more effective health care system.

5. Aetna UK was established in early 2007 to offer dedicated commissioning support services to Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), and was appointed to the Framework for procuring External Support for Commissioners (FESC) later that year. In 2008 Aetna was appointed to the Practice Based Commissioning (PBC) Development Framework to provide support for PCTs and PBCs to help them strengthen and build on local support arrangements for practice based commissioning.

6. NHS South Birmingham commissions services for a population of 383,000 people. Currently our Primary Care Services include 65 GP practices, 170 General Dental Practitioners, 71 community Pharmacies, and 80 local optician premises including domiciliary services. We try to keep health care close to home and offer a range of nursing and therapy services to support this through your local GP. We look at the health of the entire local population and address issues specific to our area. Public health is an important role and includes issues such as poverty, obesity, diet, exercise, smoking and other factors which impact on your health.

7. Pathfinder Healthcare Developments (PHD) is a Community Interest Company (cic) based in the West Midlands concentrated in the Sandwell area. PHD is a progressive and innovative provider of extended primary care services, specialising in meeting the needs of inner city multiracial populations. It currently provides a wide range of services to a population of just over 25,000 across three practices and three sites through a Personal Medical Services (PMS+) contract and an Additional Personal Medical Services (APMS) contract with PCTs. It has a track record of delivering high quality services, often leading the way locally in the development of services, particularly to marginalised groups. PHD has a track record of excellence (recognised by the UK Department of Health) often leading the way in the development of services, particularly to ethnic minority communities, and to marginalised groups. The UK Department of Health has recognised the standards we achieve and the innovation we apply.


London | 2 December 2008

Appointment brings together expertise of Aetna, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Royal College of General Practitioners

Aetna (NYSE: AET) announced today that it has been appointed by the Department of Health as one of five suppliers on the Practice Based Commissioners (PBC) Development Framework.  The goal of the Framework is to promote excellence in practice based commissioning by supporting the development of core competencies within PBCs and Primary Care Trusts (PCTs).

“Practice based commissioning is a critical element to achieving world class commissioning aspirations.  We are delighted to be recognised as a leading player in such an important area,” said Vincent Sai, Vice President and Managing Director of Aetna UK.

Recognising there is no “one size fits all” solution, Aetna will team up with PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) to deliver development services.  The breadth and depth of this relationship combines the perspectives of one of the world’s largest commissioning organisations and health analytic experts; one of the world’s leading change management and organisational development consultancies; and clinical insight and leadership from the largest of the Royal Colleges. 

“The unique combination of skills of Aetna, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the RCGP also reflect Aetna’s commitment to bring the best resources to support PBC development and foster continued improvement and innovation within the NHS,” continued Mr Sai.

Services offered range from building analytic and commissioning skills, organisational and leadership development, to improved engagement of key stakeholders including clinicians, patients and the public.  Ultimately, the value that the partnership brings is its experience in creating bespoke solutions that can help PBC consortia prioritise and develop foundational capabilities for sustained success.


Notes to Editors:
1. Aetna UK will partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Royal College of General Practitioners to provide support for PCTs and PBCs to help them strengthen and build on local support arrangements for practice based commissioning.

2. Aetna is a leading healthcare company, commissioning services for approximately 37.2 million people worldwide through a broad range of health management services and health insurance products. Aetna has relationships with more than 1.3 million healthcare professionals around the globe, demonstrating the company’s commitment to providing customers and individuals with access to safe, affordable, high-quality healthcare. Building on its more than 150-year history, Aetna is recognised for its dedication to cooperating with doctors and hospitals, employers, patients, public officials and others to build a stronger, more effective healthcare system. Aetna UK was established in 2007 to offer dedicated commissioning support services to Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). As one of only six U.S.-based suppliers selected to provide advisory and commissioning services, Aetna UK is approved by the Department of Health through its sponsored Framework for procuring External Support for Commissioners (FESC).

3. PricewaterhouseCoopers has an extensive track record going back over 30 years of providing authoritative advice and assistance to a wide range of public and private health organisations, including the Department of Health and other government departments, SHAs, commissioners and providers. PricewaterhouseCoopers also works in collaboration with other key stakeholders such as Monitor, the NHS Confederation, and quality regulators, such as the Royal Colleges and the Audit Commission, to add insight and expertise in key areas of policy and delivery.

4. The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) is the academic organisation in the UK for general practitioners. Its aim is to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the ‘voice’ of general practitioners on education, training and standards issues. Founded in 1952, the RCGP is a relatively young organisation with an outstanding record of achievement. Milestones in its history include the establishment of vocational training in general practice, the setting up of clinical guidelines for doctors, the expansion of research into general medicine practice and the promotion of primary care.

Aetna Positioned to Expand in England: Appointed by Department of Health to the ”Framework for Procuring External Support for Commissioners” (FESC)
–Aetna to offer range of services to support Primary Care Trusts–

HARTFORD, Conn | BUSINESS WIRE | 5 October 2007

Aetna (NYSE: AET) announced today that it has been appointed by the Department of Health as one of the suppliers on the Framework for Procuring External Support for Commissioners (FESC) to offer commissioning support to Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in England. The FESC will provide PCTs with easy access to a framework of expert suppliers who can support them in undertaking their commissioning work.

The NHS provides health care coverage for all citizens in England, based on need, not ability to pay. It is the largest organization in Europe and one of the largest employers in the world, with more than 1.3 million employees. Originally created in 2002, PCTs are free-standing local organizations within the NHS responsible for ensuring that community health needs are met. In consultation with community stakeholders, PCTs develop health care plans that best meet the needs of their individual patient populations and commission services with providers.

Services that Aetna will offer to local PCT managers include a wide range of support, ranging from specific tasks such as designing medical management programs, also known as demand management, to comprehensive contracting and procurement of services.

“We are very pleased to have been selected as a supplier on the framework by the Department of Health in England,” said Ronald A. Williams, Aetna chairman and CEO. “We believe we have a range of skills that complement existing experience within Primary Care Trusts, and are excited to be given the opportunity to help to strengthen health care delivery in communities across England.”

Aetna’s proven experience in managing health care quality and cost to a budget through effective contracting and procurement techniques, information analysis and its partnership approach to program design were key components of the company’s successful appointment as a supplier for the FESC.

According to Martha Temple, vice president of Aetna with primary responsibility for the company’s international businesses, “Our goal is to form partnerships to create integrated solutions that address the differing health challenges and health needs of PCTs across England. We will do this in a way that truly addresses the top concerns of both PCTs and patients.”

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 34.9 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life, long-term care and disability plans, medical management capabilities, and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans and government-sponsored plans in both the U.S. and internationally. Aetna’s international businesses also include Aetna Global Benefits(R), Aetna’s expatriate benefits division that focuses on providing comprehensive benefit solutions to employees working, travelling and living in over 100 countries.

CONTACT: Media Contact:
Katherine Lee Balsamo, 860-273-2707

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Health trust faces legal review

Posted on October 30, 2009. Filed under: Arm's length providers, News stories | Tags: |

Hull & East Riding Mail | 30 October 2009

A judicial review has been called for over NHS Hull’s decision to transfer frontline health services to a social enterprise company.

As previously reported in the Mail, the primary care trust (PCT), wants to transfer staff and services, including district nursing and health visiting, to City Health Care Partnership (CHCP).

Now, the move, which has faced criticism from unions, has been delayed after NHS Hull received a call for a judicial review.

The trust said it was initially served notice of a proposed claim for a judicial review “by an individual” last month.

The claim was disputed by NHS Hull’s solicitors, but the PCT has subsequently received a formal claim.

It now has to file a “formal acknowledgement of service” to the court by mid-November and the court will then decide whether or not to undertake a judicial review.

Tina Smallwood, director of human resources at the trust, said it is aiming for the services and staff to separate from NHS Hull during or before March.

However, this could be delayed further if the courts decide to review the decision.

Ms Smallwood said: “NHS Hull has received a claim for judicial review.

“This means a legal challenge has been made against the decision taken by NHS Hull to transfer its provider arm to a community interest company.

“The primary care trust is required to compile a response by mid-November, following which the case may enter the judicial system.”

As reported in yesterday’s Mail, Unite, alongside other staff unions, will be asking managers at the PCT to hold a ballot of the staff as to whether they are in favour of transferring to CHCP.

Ray Gray, regional officer for Unison, said: “We are aware of the judicial review.

“I believe it’s two patients who have asked for it.

“The reason they have done it is because the public weren’t consulted and they were completely unaware of it.

“In April, the trust said it was advised by solicitors it didn’t have to consult the public. That’s a stupid move.

“It’s a major change to health services in Hull and there’s no way they can get away with it without consulting the public.”

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Patient boost at new Blackburn health centre

Posted on August 26, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories, Providers | Tags: |

Lancashire Telegraph | By Emma Cruces | 23 August 2009

A NEW GP health centre will bring more services into Blackburn and slash the number of patients per doctor.

Partners at Shadsworth Surgery on Shadsworth Road, Blackburn, who have formed a not-for-profit company will now provide an extra surgery for Blackburn in the Mill Hill area.

Cornerstone Community Interest Company, which was procured to run a new centre by Blackburn with Darwen NHS, says that in four years the practice will have achieved a doctor for every 1,500 people – five hundred people fewer than the UK average.

The new Bentham Road Health Centre opens on Tuesday, September 1 and as well as GP services, will offer contraception and sexual health services, clinics for asthma, bronchitis, heart problems and diabetes as well as drug and alcohol addiction services.

Health checks and support for those who want to stop smoking are also on offer. It is also thought to be the first surgery in Blackburn to offer weekend appointments.

Members of the public are also able to become members of the company if they wish to act as representatives for residents.

Medical Director of Cornerstone, Dr Alastair Murdoch, who will continue to work at his Shadsworth practice, said the centre would operate for the next year with one full time and one part time doctor, adding more doctors as patient numbers increase.

He said: “Myself and all the partners at the Shadsworth surgery felt very strongly that areas with the most problems should have the best doctors, but all too often they end up in leafy suburbs.

“We were delighted to have won the bid as we are a not-for-profit company which means we can plough our profits back into the centre.

“We hope people will view the company as theirs. Mill Hill is an area currently under-doctored and experiencing problems.

“Most ill health is not caused by disease, but by poverty, stress or depression, and there are limits to what traditional surgeries can do.”

Rob Bellingham, director of governance and engagement at NHS Blackburn with Darwen, said: “The opening of Bentham Road Health Centre is a realisation of a vision to give people in Blackburn with Darwen better care, better health and ultimately, a better and longer life.”

The new health centre will be open from 8am to 8pm on Thursdays, 8am to 6.30pm other weekdays and 8.30am to 12.30pm on Saturdays.

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Armed Forces firm to run Bestwood GP practice

Posted on August 18, 2009. Filed under: News stories | Tags: |

Nottingham Evening Post | Nottingham City PCT | 18 August 2009

A COMPANY which supports people in the Armed Forces is to run a new GP practice in Bestwood.

The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) should sign the contract later this year.

The “care community interest company” supports people who are serving or who have served in the Armed Forces as well as their families around the world.

The GP practice in Bestwood is the fourth to be created in Nottingham as part of efforts to improve access to healthcare in some parts of the city.

NHS Nottingham City put the contracts to run the practices out to tender – meaning third party companies can bid to take them on. But bids to run the surgery in Bestwood were originally ruled to be “below an acceptable standard” and the contract was re-tendered.

Up to 6,000 patients are set to benefit from the new GP practice, though the exact location has yet to be chosen.

NHS Nottingham City chief executive Andrew Kenworthy said the decision was “great news” for people in the Bestwood area. He said: “We’re really looking forward to working with SSAFA to finalise and sign contracts.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to work together and make sure the new services are top quality, and have a real impact on the health of local people.”

SSAFA provides general medical help to the families of people in the Armed Forces in countries including Germany, Belgium, Holland, Cyprus and Canada.

In recent months it has been chosen to run a new GP-led health centre in Leicester and a practice in Luton.

Managing director Paul Branscombe said staff would be able to move quickly once details had been finalised.

He said: “We have got that expertise, we do it to a very high standard and we do it in places where conditions are quite adverse. We are organised as a community interest company. Although it will be run to the best standards it possibly can, we are not there to make money for our partners.”

Chris Locke, chief executive of the Notts Local Medical Committee, which represents GPs, said the SSAFA was an “unknown quantity”.

But he said: “Someone who is not in it for their shareholders is always going to have more credibility.

“Bestwood has been identified as posing particular challenges in having high levels of ill-health.”

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BMA warns of ‘backdoor privatisation’ of Hull’s GP services

Posted on July 24, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Healthcare Republic | 24 July 2009

Primary care services in Hull are being ‘privatised through the back door’, the BMA has warned. A863D298-FADD-92C3-B8E1A849E705D51D

NHS Hull is converting its provider arm into a commercial company, provisionally known as the City Health Care Partnership Community Interest Company (CIC).

The company will be owned by its staff, and will ‘re-invest’ any profits in health services or in the wider community. It will run services including several local GP practices and the local out-of-hours service.

But, despite the fact that staff will be shareholders, a trade union survey found that 90% of staff had no idea that the move was happening.

A BMA spokesman said the PCT had been ‘very unclear’ about what would happen to the company’s profits. ‘Its intention is to put that profit back into the community, but it’s not given us any detail on how that’ll work.’

He added that the trust had ‘misled its staff into thinking it’s just another NHS merger, when what’s happening is the services are moving out of the NHS’.

The PCT says that all staff that transfer over to the new company will retain their NHS pension.

But current rules mean that new staff will not be eligible for it, raising the spectre of a two-tier workforce. 

A PCT spokeswoman said: ‘City Health Care Partnership will be an independent organisation that is underpinned by strong social purpose and organisational values.’

She added that the trade union that conducted the survey had only asked its own members. ‘This is not 90% of the total staff,’ she added.

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