Not-for-profit enterprises: we've been here before

I read with interest the following: 'To encourage nurses to set up not-for-profit bodies, social enterprises are to be offered contracts of three years or more.

'The Darzi review outlines plans to make it easier for primary care nurses to opt out of the NHS and sell their services back as independent providers.

'DoH sources say that one of the barriers to the scheme's success is fears over job security. The new social enterprises will thus be offered multi-year contracts, to make independent contractor status less risky.

'The Treasury has also agreed in principle that social enterprise employees will retain their NHS pension rights.'

In 2004 I worked for a not-for-profit out-of-hours NHS body that was nationally respected. In 2006, the PCT decided to award the contract to a private company in an unjust tendering process.

This company made such a hash of it that there was an emergency debate in the House of Commons (GP, 2 March 2007). All the original contracted members of staff lost their NHS pension rights. Beware.

Dr Tom Ettling, Newquay, Cornwall.

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