26 January 2012
Social enterprise expression of interest not supported
The Board of Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS
Trust has decided not to support an 'expression of interest'
to establish a social enterprise in Bristol by a group of
clinicians under the Government's 'Right to Provide'
Having heard from and questioned the advocates of the plan at
the meeting and heard from representatives of professional and
staff groups in Bristol, board members concluded that:
- They were unconvinced that service quality or choice would be
increased by establishing a social enterprise for mental health
- There was little evidence to suggest support from staff and
clinicians in Bristol for establishing a social enterprise and no
evidence of engagement with AWP's professional groups in the city,
some of whom felt that clinical best practice would be damaged by
the splintering of the Trust.
- Given its dependence on winning a significant element of the
proposed contracts to deliver mental health services in Bristol,
the social enterprise was unlikely to be economically viable
- Exploring the proposal further would have a destabilising
impact on AWP, detracting from current efforts to implement service
improvements and stronger local management as well as adversely
impacting on the Trust's bid to become a foundation trust.
The Board also questioned whether those proposing the social
enterprise could complete the process laid down by the Department
of Health in time to take part in the formal public tender process
that would be followed by Bristol PCT in retendering mental health
Chair of the Trust Board Felicity Longshaw said: "We have
given this proposal substantial attention, considering our
obligations under the 'Right to Provide' process. It is
clear to us that at a time of change and uncertainty, there has to
be a clear vision and a strong organisational strategy to respond
to the challenges which face mental health so that quality is
constantly being improved. We have not been convinced that
this proposal can deliver this.
"Across Bristol and the rest of the Trust, our staff are working
really hard to support those with serious mental health needs,
providing some excellent services. We believe that all our
energies should be concentrated on supporting our staff to provide
responsive, effective services and do not think that the impact of
setting up a social enterprise would help with this."