A staff-owned social enterprise has been awarded one of England’s largest healthcare contracts delivering “care closer to home” services to people in north Essex.
Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE) was awarded the seven-year contract, worth £240m, by the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group.
“We know people would like their healthcare services to be more joined up and accessible”
Under the care closer to home (CCH) contract, the social enterprise will launch a range of re-designed services in April 2016.
It currently has around 1,150 staff and already delivers a range of community healthcare services in north east Essex, as well as specialist nursing and learning disability services in other parts of the county.
Managers said it was too early to say exactly how the new service would look, but the aim was to make things much more joined up.
Services that the social enterprise has previously spearheaded include a community rapid assessment service designed to reduce emergency admissions to hospital, which sees nurses work closely with other health and social care professionals.
“We know people would like their healthcare services to be more joined up and accessible and we are looking forward to working more closely with local GPs, Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust and other key partners to deliver a more seamless service,” said ACE managing director Lynne Woodcock.
She said the new CCH service would be designed by staff and the challenge was to ensure services were truly integrated.
Samantha Hepplewhite, acting chief officer at North Essex CCG, said there had been a high level of interest in the contract with “some very strong bids”.
“ACE has demonstrated robust quality, service delivery, transformation and patient experience in their bid,” she said.
“They also displayed a sound knowledge of healthcare provision and the importance of working with health and social care professionals to offer a joined up service,” she added.
Care closer to home services “significantly” improve patient satisfaction, as well as improving knowledge of conditions and treatments, according to a report published in 2012 by the Royal College of Physicians.