Hopes for Gloucestershire health staff mutual

Gloucestershire staff providing community health services could be transferred to a John Lewis-style mutual, owned by employees.

The government has announced plans to transfer the commissioning of local services to GP-led organisations, phasing out primary care trusts.

NHS Gloucestershire said it was already working towards integrating the provision of services with social care.

Some 3,200 of its 3,500 staff work in roles such as district nursing.

Jan Stubbings, chief executive of the primary care trust and Gloucestershire Care Services, said the latter was working towards integrating services with the council's social care department, but the two would remain separate.

She said the intention was that the new organisation could become a mutual, owned by employees.

The John Lewis Partnership model gives staff collective ownership of the business and a share in its profits.

Ms Stubbings said: "I see the primary care trusts as being the builders of this new future and remaining as the mortar to keep it together.

"Patients will be given more choice and real choice about where and in some cases how they are treated... where that's clinically viable."

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