Serco took over services on 1 October including community nursing, specialist nursing, community hospitals, speech and language therapy and specialist children’s services.
In Suffolk, approximately 1,400 members of staff have transferred to the new service, which is now called Suffolk Community Healthcare.
These staff will retain their terms and conditions, including their NHS pensions, holiday entitlement, maternity and sick leave arrangements, pay and length of service.
Serco, which was appointed as preferred bidder in March by NHS Suffolk, is working with South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, a provider of community and mental health services. It is also working with Community Dental Services CIC, a staff-owned social enterprise which provides dental services to vulnerable groups.
Managing director of clinical services for Serco, Paul Forden, said: ‘We are delighted that our contract to deliver NHS community healthcare across Suffolk has now started and look forward to working with our partners to provide a service of which the county can be proud.
‘We have been working extremely hard to ensure both staff and services transfer smoothly and safely, without compromising the excellent care provided by Suffolk Community Healthcare. Our patients should not notice any changes, and will continue to receive the same high quality care, delivered by the same teams and in the same locations as they do now.'
Serco said that over the coming months it will develop a new model of integrated care, coordinated from a single centre, with patient records available 24 hours a day.
NHS Suffolk deputy chief executive Tracy Dowling said: ‘We are confident patients will continue to receive well-managed and effective NHS care of a high quality, which meets their needs.
Serco was carefully selected as the best organisation to manage and deliver improved community health services. Over the last few months we have worked with Serco, Suffolk Community Healthcare staff and our other partners to make the transfer process as smooth as possible.’
Earlier this year, a Care Quality Commission report found that out-of-hours services in Cornwall run by Serco failed to meet quality and safety standards. A separate report found that data submitted for performance management had been altered. Serco has said action plans are in place to tackle the concerns.