In the first part of his NHS Next Stage Review report, published this week, Lord Darzi said he envisioned that more services would be provided by specialist, not-for-profit, nurse-led organisations – using the social enterprise model.
He cited the Central Surrey Health Partnership as a service example that would become increasingly common in the NHS. This began in 2006 after taking over services from East Elmbridge and Mid Surrey PCT.
Lord Darzi said he believed that nurse-led services would be more patient-focused and, as a result, less bureaucratic than current models.
However, unlike existing social enterprises, nurses will in future be able to transfer from the NHS to a not-for-profit sector organisation without loss of pension rights. This has been a major stumbling block in the past, Lord Darzi said.
Chief nursing officer for England Chris Beasley agreed, saying that there were ‘a lot of people very interested’ in setting up independent nurse-led partnerships and the transfer of pensions would ‘lift a very big barrier’ to them deciding to go ahead.
Under the plans, nurse-led partnerships will have a legal right to make a request to their PCTs to become a not-for-profit organisation. If the PCT believes that the service will improve care, a new independent NHS organisation will be created, which will provide services to patients under contract to the PCT.