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 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.