Companies ‘offer opportunities to the NHS’

27 Jul 17

The NHS should not be afraid of setting up companies to drive improvement, a Grant Thornton report has stated.

Its An enterprising approach to health report called for trusts to “have the courage” to think resourcefully about the use of NHS companies.

Partner Mark Stocks said: “As the NHS continues to face increasing financial challenges while expecting to maintain, if not improve, performance the ability to think innovatively about how to tackle these challenges is critical.”

He argues that alternative delivery models such as NHS companies offer trusts the opportunity to develop new sources of income, work in partnership with the commercial sector, and increase efficiency while maintaining the same quality, values and ethos as the NHS.

The report notes that, although trusts have been able to set up companies for over a decade many have opted not to do so.

A key barrier is the perception that NHS companies are a form of privatisation but Grant Thornton said “this is unfair”.

According to the report, NHS companies that commonly handle pharmacy, estates and property as well as GP services, respite care, diagnostic care, pathology and equipment management offer trusts the opportunity to look at new solutions to the challenges they face.

The report concludes: “It is a reality that NHS companies are not the sole answer to the NHS financial crisis.

“However, they provide another viable tool with which NHS trust boards can drive the changes needed to make the NHS successful.”

Richard Murray, director of policy at the King’s Fund, wrote for PF in April, warning that so-called golden opportunities to raise much-needed cash from the private sector and local authorities were not as straightforward as they may seem.

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