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Calderdale school nurse contract transfers from trust to social enterprise

  • 3 Comments

School nurses in Calderdale are no longer employed by Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust after the local council awarded the service contract to a community interest company.

Locala Community Partnerships has taken over the contract from the trust this month, claiming that all 18 school nurses have been transferred across and there have been no redundancies.

“There have been no staff redundancies… Locala employs the same number of school nurses as the trust did under the previous contract”

Calderdale Council

The company – which is a form of social enterprise - already provides school nursing and other NHS services in nearby borough Kirklees.

It said it would introduce some changes to the service in Calderdale, by placing a greater focus on supporting children with long-term health conditions and on work to support schools in creating environments that promote good health.

This is in line with new requirements laid out by the local authority, which also wants to see school nurses focusing on implementing new practice in asthma care and providing first aid training to pupils.

Locala will also be providing the healthcare element of the council’s youth offending team, a service that the community interest company already provides in Kirklees.

Financial spreadsheets

Local authorities will be responsible for commissioning all 0-19 services by October

Meanwhile, school nurse assistants will now be employed by Calderdale Council as the National Child Measurement Programme service that they provide is transferring to the local authority.

In April 2013 all local authorities in England took over the responsibility for commissioning school nursing services from NHS commissioners.

From this October, local authorities will also commission health visiting services.

Calderdale Council said school nursing was one of a number of services it had put out to tender since it had become responsible for public health for five to 19-year-olds.

Calderdale Council’s director of public health Paul Butcher, said: “The school nursing contract with Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust was coming to an end, so we advertised the contract and bidders had to meet the criteria in our service specification.

“This was to maintain a high quality service and a fair and transparent process that was open to all.”

He added: “There have been no staff redundancies caused by the change in provider. Locala employs the same number of school nurses as the trust did under the previous contract.”

  • 3 Comments

Readers' comments (3)

  • What happens to the nurses NHS pensions? Are the Terms and conditions different?

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  • Nurses have perfectly legitimate personal interests in these developments, such as implications for pay. I suggest that the Profession also has a wider responsibility with regard to policy. There is a range of complex questions here, not least the structure of terms and conditions. Is this social enterprise classed as 'NHS' in government statistics, or does it represent privatization? More and more services are being transferred to CICs - are these still 'NHS'? Do the contractual arrangements require nurses qualified to NHS standards? Do European regulations (and trade agreements with the US) mean that contracts with CICs must be opened up to wider competition in future? Since CICs are private companies, what are the implications for standards, sharing patient information, Information Governance, service accreditation (and continuing recognition by NHS employers, including GPs). What about training, qualification and pay structures in the longer term? Is it legitimate for the NHS/government to subsidize training of staff in privately owned CICs? I am not aware of anyone who has answers to these questions yet. If you have, please let us know! CICs may provide the innovations that the NHS needs, but they may also be the Trojan horse that breaks the NHS into pieces; there is a vital need for open debate on this before we go further. The public we serve does not understand the implications because they have not been given the information - that is no less than a failure by politicians (of all colors) to follow democratic process. There is an important principle here for NHS and Local Authority Officers - politicians are avoiding public debate on changes like this because they are frightened of public reaction. Any 'bureaucrats' (to use Mr Cameron's expletive) who are complicit in their pretenses can expect the blame if (when?) it goes wrong. It is vital that the public becomes more informed and engaged. A failure by those responsible for planning and contracts to ensure this happens is simply that - a failure, to serve the public properly.

    NB - for Nursing Times - please include a British-English spell checker in this facility!

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  • In response to the above two comments:

    All 20 colleagues (18 school nurses, one youth offending team nurse and one member of the admin team) were TUPE’d to Locala Community Partnerships after we were awarded the contract and under Agenda for Change kept their terms and conditions. They have brought with them and will continue in their NHS pensions.

    Locala was previously the provider arm of NHS Kirklees, the local primary care trust, and became a community interest company (a kind of social enterprise) in October 2011. Those of us who were employees at that time were TUPE’d with our Agenda for Change terms and conditions intact. We are not an NHS organisation; people who work here are employed by Locala not the NHS but Locala holds contracts to provide NHS services, be that from clinical commissioning groups, Public Health or NHS England. We are a third sector – not private sector - organisation and our employees can be shareholder members if they wish (currently 85% are). We also have community members and representatives from both groups together with two local councillors and a GP form a Members’ Council which plays a very active part in the governance of the organisation, maintaining its values and liaising with the Locala Board. Locala doesn’t pay dividends to shareholders - their reward is involvement rather than cash – and is required to put back any surpluses into service development or into the community and we have a small grant scheme to support local charitable and community groups, which the Members’ Council oversees.

    As a provider of NHS services we are inspected by the Care Quality Commission and also have to meet the equally exacting standards of the Community Interest Company Regulator and of course those of our commissioners. We absolutely train and recruit to NHS standards; we have very strong governance in place and a very secure, electronic, cloud-based patient information system. We adhere to the same rules about sharing patient information as an NHS organisation.

    Being a social enterprise has given us the freedom and flexibility to invest in technology to such an extent that our clinicians are fully mobile, using their laptops to access and input information whether seeing a patient in a clinic or their home. Whilst with a patient they can use the technology to show a colleague their patient’s wound /condition and seek a second opinion. We’re saving time for both patient and clinician and providing a better service. We have a 5-8pm health visitor advice line in place and are developing video appointments, where appropriate, both of which our patients love.

    Locala is recognised nationally as a leading and innovative provider of NHS community healthcare services. Last year we were awarded Investors in People Silver accreditation and in a recent survey more than two thirds of colleagues would recommend working for Locala.

    I’m not in a position to answer all of Peter Edwards’ questions but hope I have given enough information to rectify the lack of knowledge about community interest companies generally and about Locala in particular. If anyone wants to know more please go to our website www.locala.org.uk

    Amanda Thomas, Communications Manager, Locala Community Partnerships

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