Representing estates and facilities professionals operating within the  



Big Society comes to the NHS

Thousands of frontline NHS staff are taking control of the services they deliver in a drive to transform patient care and improve health outcomes, Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley said yesterday. He was launcing the 32 projects that will form the third wave of NHS organisations that want to set up social enterprises, through the NHS ‘Right to Request’ scheme.


 [quote bottom=said Andrew Lansley] I am encouraged by the enthusiasm with which NHS frontline staff have embraced the ‘Right to Request’ scheme. This represents a major milestone in the delivery of the White Paper commitment to create the largest and most vibrant social enterprise sector in the world. [/quote]


Lansley added: “We want to empower millions of public sector workers to become their own boss and help them to deliver better services. This is about a fundamental power shift, taking power from Whitehall and placing it in the hands of frontline staff who know best the needs of their communities. This is what the Big Society is all about.”


Lansley also announced that an additional £4.4m will be made available through the Department’s Social Enterprise Investment Fund. This money will support the successful Right to Request schemes and encourage others who wish to become social enterprises.


Care Services Minister Paul Burstow added: “By becoming their own bosses staff are free to exercise their clinical leadership and entrepreneurial skills. Instead of being frustrated by red-tape they can react in real time to unmet local needs, not just improving health outcomes but contributing to the wider regeneration of the communities they serve. And because social enterprises share the same public ethos as the NHS, all surplus is reinvested back into the communities they serve meaning the most efficient use of public funds.”


The proposals will transfer an estimated £900m of services and almost 25,000 NHS staff into the social enterprise sector.