In a discussion paper published this week, Mo Girach, who advises the alliance on social enterprises, said there were still numerous barriers preventing the not-for-profit bodies from playing a greater role in the NHS.
Social enterprises were more likely to flourish if they could attract outside investment, or if all employees owned shares, Mr Girach said.
But current rules mean NHS pensions are at risk if anyone other than healthcare professionals invests in the companies.
Social enterprises are also more likely to survive if they can expand their business to earn money outside the health service.
But the moment one does so ‘it loses the right for its employees’ to hold an NHS pension, the report says. Unless these problems are dealt with, Mr Girach writes, government plans for social enterprises ‘will remain a dream’.
However, Dave Dawes, a nurse and founder of Entreprenurses, a social enterprise that advises nurse entrepreneurs, said DoH officials had already made it clear that staff would retain their NHS pensions as long as they only did NHS work.
Although outside share owner-ship could be a problem, ‘there are almost no [social enterprises] with outside equity anyway,’ he said.
- Read the full version of this story in this week’s Independent Nurse dated 1 June.
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