Transferring health workers can keep pension rights

The Social Enterprise Coalition has welcomed the news that the Government will allow health workers transferring from the NHS to social enterprise health services to keep their public sector pension rights.

The move, which is expected to be announced on Monday in Lord Darzi's review of the future of the NHS, will remove one of the major barriers to NHS staff forming independent healthcare social enterprises.

Even major health enterprises such as Central Surrey Health, which is run by the nursing and therapy teams it employs, have struggled to ensure consistent employment rights for workers leaving the NHS.

In his foreword to the Darzi review, Gordon Brown says: "I believe that over the next decade we will see a growing proportion of our services provided by independent public service providers and social enterprises.

"We have only just begun to harness the potential for these kinds of non-profit organisations and in the coming weeks we will set out how we can promote a new wave of innovation led by social enterprise while protecting the values of publicly funded services free at the point of use."

Under Darzi's recommendations, NHS staff will have the right to request the creation of a staff-led organisation, and primary care trusts will be obliged to consider this.

Jonathan Bland, chief executive of the Social Enterprise Coalition, said: "It is truly momentous that NHS healthcare professionals who want to establish social enterprises will now be able to do so without the threat of losing their pensions.

"Social enterprises in the healthcare world give the people on the front line the flexibility to be innovative and resourceful in responding to the individuals and communities they serve. We applaud the Government's push for more social enterprise and nurse-led organisations to take the lead in healthcare delivery."

The Government paved the way for its announcement by repeating its commitment to wider service delivery by not-for-profit organisations.

The Cabinet Office published the report Excellence And Fairness: Achieving World Class Public Services, which calls for wider service delivery by voluntary organisations.

In his foreword, Gordon Brown says public services will be run by "more providers from the voluntary and private sectors".

Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, said: "This is the Prime Minister making it very clear that there has been no change in direction on reform of public services."

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Central Surrey Health

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