Health workers vote to keep their services in the NHS

HEALTH professionals in Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland have voted for a second time to keep services within the remit of the NHS, as opposed to transferring to a “social enterprise”.

More than 500 staff from Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland Community Services (MRCCS), an NHS organisation that provides health and social care to Teesside communities, voted in favour of their services being managed by a local NHS foundation trust.

By April next year, all community healthcare services across the country, such as care and treatment in community hospitals such as Carter Bequest and care and support to people in their homes or local clinic settings to enable them to stay out of hospital, have to be managed outside of current Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) like NHS Redcar and Cleveland and NHS Middlesbrough.

The two proposed options to manage these services were to create a social enterprise outside of the NHS, or be managed by a local Foundation Trust such as North Tees or South Tees.

About 700 of the 1,000 staff in MRCCS voted in the ballot on their preferred option.

A spokesman for MRCCS said: The staff of Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland Community Services (MRCCS) have voted in favour of being hosted by a local NHS foundation trust after a ballot showed 66% of those who voted preferred this option.

The result of the ballot will now be presented to the board of MRCCS who will make a recommendation to the boards of NHS Middlesbrough and NHS Redcar and Cleveland later this month.

Plans must then be approved by the North East Strategic Health Authority and the Department of Health. The hosting arrangement, if approved, would begin on April 1, 2011.

MRCCS was established in June 2007 to provide the NHS community services previously provided by Middlesbrough PCT and Redcar and Cleveland PCT.

Unison, the public sector trade union, welcomed the rejection of a social enterprise.

Wendy Larry, Unison local representative in MRCCS said: Despite what management promise we as staff recognise the dangers that this could bring in terms of no longer being employed by the NHS.

We would be open to the vagaries of the market and to the potential for diminution to our terms and conditions of employment.

In the NHS social enterprises can take a number of different structural forms, ranging from companies limited by guarantee to more co-operative/mutual models.

Social enterprises are expected to play a big part in the future of primary care service delivery.

From the Middlesbrough Gazette



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