Editorials

Employee ownership in the NHS

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c6759 (Published 25 November 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6759
  1. Chris Ham, chief executive1,
  2. Jo Ellins, research fellow2
  1. 1King’s Fund, London W1G 0AN, UK
  2. 2University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  1. c.ham{at}kingsfund.org.uk

Mutual models may help to deliver higher levels of performance

Although the coalition government’s plans to put general practices in charge of commissioning have attracted widespread interest and comment, its proposals for provider reform are equally radical. By 2013 it is expected that all NHS trusts will have become foundation trusts, and that providers from the independent sector will play a bigger part in delivering services to NHS patients. The government also wants to encourage employee owned healthcare providers, with the aim of creating “the largest and most vibrant social enterprise sector in the world.”1

These plans are part of a broader programme of public service reform, at the heart of which is a concern to move away from state ownership to greater diversity in how public services are run in pursuit of the “big society.”2 Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude, announced recently that the government will take this programme forward by putting in place a right for public sector workers to take over the running of their services.3 This builds on the previous government’s interest in mutualism in the public sector, and it signals a renewed commitment to explore …

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