New body to run Bath community health and social services agreed

A new organisation which will run health and social care services in Bath has been given the seal of approval by regional NHS officials.

The social enterprise body being created by B&NES council and NHS B&NES, is a not for profit organisation which will run £50 million of services.

It has been formally supported – or assured – by the board of the South West Strategic Health Authority, which means it is on schedule to be launched in October.

The organisation will employ around 1,700 staff and will be responsible for more than 60 services across health and social care, including St Martin’s Hospital and specialist social work.

Health chiefs say it will work for the benefit of the local community, with representatives of the council, the NHS, staff, patients and local groups on its board.

Each representative will have a say in how the organisation – which replaces a long-running joint arrangement between the council and NHS in the city – is run.

Social enterprise chief executive Janet Rowse said: “The social enterprise will build on the work which has taken place over the last few years to join up community health and social care services in B&NES.

“We will continue to provide public services, largely funded by the council and the NHS, but we believe the new organisation will make us more flexible and more focussed on the needs of local people.

“The social enterprise will be a community interest company limited by guarantee, which means that it will be working for the good of our community.

“The aim is to continue improving health and well-being of people living in B&NES.

“The community will play a greater role within the social enterprise, and we will work closely with staff in shaping the organisation and the services it will provide.”

The body – the idea of which has been resisted by some unions – will be chaired by experienced health and charity chief executive Simon Knighton.

It is coming into being as PCTs such as NHS B&NES are phased out in Government reforms that will put GPs in the drivign seat of commissioning health services.