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Nearly half of enterprises nurse led


Nurses are at the forefront of the government’s push to make the NHS the “largest social enterprise sector in the world”.

Nursing Times has learned that seven out of the 16 NHS social enterprises under development are led by nurses.

The independent not for profit organisations are formed from part or all of primary care trust provider arms.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said nurses played “key leadership roles” in enterprises being developed by Bromley Urgent Care; Derby Family Nurse Partnership; Leicester Homeless Healthcare Service; City HealthCare Partnership in Hull; Your Healthcare in Kingston; a prison nursing group in Norfolk; and a community service organisation in Bexley, south London.

The Derby Family Nurse Partnership is preparing to go live with a shadow budget next financial year after applying to develop from a DH pilot into a standalone social enterprise.

The 10 strong team has a £500,000 budget and intends to rename itself Ripplz when it becomes a community interest company.

Lead manager Chris Tully said the team wanted to cover a larger geographical area.

She said: “We wanted to be masters of our own destiny. Because the Family Nurse Partnership programme is DH
funded, we were on short term contracts anyway, and we didn’t know if we were going to end up part of the local authority or the acute [trust].”

Last week, health minister Paul Burstow indicated that a second wave of social enterprises applying to take over services run by primary care trusts would be announced imminently.

That will include a team of community nurses from NHS Peterborough’s provider arm, which is competing against two foundation trusts and another NHS trust to run the PCT’s community services as a social enterprise.

The PCT will decide the winning organisation in September.

The provider arm’s adult services section includes community nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and occupational health workers. It is now up against the local mental health trust, Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Foundation Trust and Cambridgeshire Community Services Trust to run the service.

The Social Enterprise Coalition’s head of policy and research Ceri Jones told Nursing Times that as long as “structural barriers” were not put in their way, there was no reason why nurse led enterprises would not be able to compete with bigger, longer established organisations.


Readers' comments (10)

  • And why is this a surprise? I think as long as Nurses start fighting for their profession and pushing the boundaries of what we can do this will increase.

    I think Nurses have a valuable opportunity here not only to create not for profit organisations that are Nurse led, but also to create profit based organisations based on the same principle as a GP surgery, we can finally take control of our profession and get out from the shackles of the NHS.

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  • I agree with most of what you're saying mike, until you mention profit-making organisations. I didn't become a nurse to make money; I'm not alone and the army of nurses who do it for the people know how dangerous the pursuit of profit can be to our patients.

    Yes, let's stretch ourselves as a profession. We can do it many times over and could even do it outside the NHS. But let's not start using the 'P' word unless we want to go further down the American road...

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  • Anonymous | 4-Aug-2010 2:31 am, You misunderstand what I am saying slightly (fair enough I didn't explain it that well), what I meant by 'profit based' is a Nurse led clinic for example, that is run on a similar principle money wise to a GP surgery, or perhaps the government or NHS could pay us for the amount of patients the clinic would treat and the services offered; the point is it is NURSES who would set that level of pay, not the government or the NHS; the profit would ensure that Nurses are paid the correct wage for their level of skill, education, etc, and ensure that enough staff are available to treat the patients, it would not be about one or two fat cats at the top reaping the benefits, the profit would go to the whole, into ensuring a strong profession outside of the NHS (we would still need to pay wages, buy equipment etc).

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  • well whether you're in it for profit or not, you're not-for-profit organisation may not survive in this new climate. profit making organisations will not tollerate shoddy workers and the patients will be better off. also attractive working conditions will attact the best nurses and globalise the british health market even more. i believe in free healthcare for the british tax payer, but afterall, its business, so lets take the bull by the horns and solve this appauling mess that the banking system put us in...

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  • I too believe in free health, the NHS is one of the best things this country has ever done. I just think that by taking control of our profession, and charging the NHS or the government to treat NHS patients (or something simialar) then we will be able to get a fair deal in terms of pay and working conditions for ourselves, and like you said, patient care will be much better off as a result. Bring it on.

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  • Social Enterprises will divide nurses further, they will constantly be 'delivering more for less' and there will be an erosion of terms and conditions and pensions as the government does not want these costs. They will be outside of the NHS. They are not a 'big' opportunity for nurses. Don't be flattered so easily about 'nurses playing key roles', it's the same old managers managing and nurses may have no choice in the way their organisation goes.

    It may be that some of the organisations named above won't survive in this climate and could be bought by a private health care company from America, Germany etc.

    Working for a profit is called working privately and there is nothing to stop you doing that if you want to / can.

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  • In a previous comment, I noted that a number of nurses in an organisations that became a social enterprise did not want to be part of a social enterprise and had no choice. It is a fact. Was that comment removed because I named the organisation? or are we just not allowed to tell the truth? I guess we will see, or not!

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  • Anonymous | 5-Aug-2010 9:07 am, I have to disagree with you.

    In the current NHS climate, we are ALREADY doing so much more for so much less.

    I am talking about NURSE LED private enterprises here, not buisness run organisations. This is an opportunity for Nurses to break free of the NHS and the managers, not be run by them, it is an opportunity for Nurses to set their own working conditions and demands for pay.

    GP's currently run on a model like this, and they are extremely powerful and influential as a group. They set their own pay and they demand the working conditions they want, because they know they will get it. Nurses should be doing the same. As a case in point, I read in the Telegraph today that GP's are now demanding MORE money because of the extra work they are going to do with handling the NHS purse strings. And they will bloody get it too. Why are Nurses not doing the same? It can't be solely down to the fact that the majority are passive and spineless.

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  • What you are imagining Mike - I would agree with, and that set up would be great. However, the reality of working within the social enterprise model, is not what you are imagining.

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  • But it COULD be! Isn't the whole point that we can make it what we need it to be?

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