The first of the new 152 GP Led Health Centres around England opened last week in Bradford. The provider is an established Yorkshire social enterprise called Local Care Direct. Staff and local people are members and owners of the company. Sounds like we could be behind the times in London yet again if Bradford turns out to point the way forward in this new form of social healthcare business.
Is the social enterprise idea something that the patients and public can latch onto? We think so. For social enterprises to arise from within the NHS, the Next Stage Review gave primary care staff the “right to request” this and guidance on how to do it. The latest news is that Ministers have agreed a 3-year guarantee of uncontested contracts for new social enterprises in the health sector. That could be a very strong incentive for some practices to ring the Social Enterprise Coalition about how to get started.
If I were a primary care business having sleepless nights because of aggressive super Foundation Trusts moving into primary and community health care, this sort of armour plating and guaranteed time to develop viable co-created business with my customers (formerly known as “patients”) would be attractive. Let’s see if anyone takes up the ministerial offer in the Metropolis.