More than 1,000 nurses who were going to be transferred to a social enterprise look set to stay in the NHS after their employer decided to seek permission to set up a new NHS trust.
NHS Gloucestershire was forced to rethink its plans to set up a social enterprise for its community services earlier this year after a service user launched a High Court legal challenge.
The primary care trust agreed to reconsider the options and was given special permission by the Department of Health to consider setting up a new NHS trust with a view to becoming a community foundation trust.
Following a consultation in which 91% of staff and 96% of the public backed this option over an alternative involving an open procurement process, the PCT agreed to pursue it at their board meeting this week.
In a statement the PCT said the decision would allow necessary improvements in quality and efficiency and financial sustainability to be achieved in a shorter timescale.
Chief executive Jan Stubbings said: “Board members took their responsibilities very seriously and considered the potential options available very carefully.
“It is now time to look to the future and we are confident that everyone – staff, community partners and the public – will pull together to make sure that community support and local services are the best they can be.”
Unison regional manager for the south west and nurse Tanya Palmer told Nursing Times members were “delighted” at the outcome but cautioned it was not a done deal.
The proposal must be approved by the DH and needs ongoing support from the new clinical commissioning group and if the trust cannot achieve foundation status another organisational form would have to be found which could include the services being put out to tender.
The PCT will now write to the strategic health authority to ask them to contact the DH on their behalf to request an establishment order for a new NHS Trust to be created by 1 April 2013.