NHS 'to keep control' of Shropshire community services

Controversial plans to give control of community health care in Shropshire to an organisation outside the NHS look likely to be scrapped.

Instead of setting up a social enterprise, Shropshire's two primary care trusts are set to form a joint Community Foundation Trust.

Shropshire PCT board members have been recommended to approve forming the body with NHS Telford and Wrekin on Tuesday.

Healthcare staff had protested over plans to sub-contract the services.

Shropshire PCT was considering using an outside provider for services, such as district nursing and physiotherapy, after the previous government advised PCTs to look at how they managed their services.

Staff opposition

However, a report being considered by Shropshire PCT at a meeting in Shrewsbury on Tuesday says staff were worried about the idea of handing over control of community health care to an outside organisation.

Board members have been asked to back plans to develop proposals for a single Community Foundation Trust.

The report called Transforming Community Services says NHS Telford and Wrekin is prepared to drop its social enterprise plans and support the idea of a joint trust running community health care across the whole county.

The two PCTs believe this new foundation trust would not be privatised if the government goes through with plans to abolish primary care trusts.

The Unite union said that the "overwhelmingly majority" of Shropshire PCT's 1,200 staff had voted against setting up a social enterprise, which involves a commercial organisation.

Unite said it was a "half-way house to the privatisation of the NHS" and in May union members protested outside a PCT meeting.

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