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'First' nurse led social enterprise faces service competition

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The first social enterprise formed by nurses and other staff leaving the NHS - hailed as as success story by government - faces the possibility of losing its contract from next year.

Central Surrey Health was formed in 2006, by staff leaving NHS provided community services. It provides community nursing and therapy for 280,000 people. It describes itself as the “first social enterprise to come out of the NHS”, “owned and run” by the more than 700 nurses and therapists it employs.

The social enterprise has been held up as a national example for other nurses to follow.

However, NHS Surrey, which commissions the services, is running a “re-procurement” of the services which means they could be given to a different provider - either social enterprise, NHS or from the private sector.

NHS Surrey has already received expressions of interest and a spokesman told Nursing Times sister title HSJ it had a “good response from the market” including interest from both “public sector and independent providers”.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Cynically, I assume NHS Surrey will give the contract to whoever claims to be both competent and cheapest - but the 'competent' bit can only be assessed with hindsight. The OOH Service recently in the news (was it for the South-West ?) seems to be a suitable case to study.

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  • Once again cheap will win the day no doubt; then it will be dismay about the level of service user dissatifaction, poor quality care and patient safety incidents. I am all for ensuring money is well spent and that services are delivered efficiently but those who are in charge of the purse strings need to acknowledge that with health care most things do not come cheap as chips.

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