Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude visits CSH

September 2010

Central Surrey Health hailed as ‘a model of Big Society innovation and efficiency’.

Central Surrey Health has been praised for its innovation and efficiency by Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he visited the Leatherhead Community Hospital run by Central Surrey Health yesterday.

Since forming in 2006, Central Surrey Health has proven that employee led reforms can create significant efficiencies. Central Surrey Health has now been asked to join other experts in employee ownership to mentor the next generation of fledgling public sector spin-outs as part of the Government’s Pathfinder Mutuals initiative.

The Minister saw some of the community health services in action. He stopped by a physiotherapy class in the hospital gym and heard how innovative employees are reducing waiting times and increasing the numbers of patients seen. He also saw a Community Assessment Unit where nurses do blood tests, x-rays and other
checks without the need for people to be admitted to hospital. This has helped Central Surrey Health to reduce the number of A&E admissions to the local acute hospital. 

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “Central Surrey Health is a public sector spin-out owned by the nurses and therapists who work with patients every day. They are the experts who know what their patients want and they’ve shown that they can do a better job if they have the power to drive changes.”

Jo Pritchard, joint MD at Central Surrey Health, adds: “Being employee-owned means we can do things differently – for our patients, our Co-owners and those who fund our contracts. Our clinicians are the people closest to our patient: by giving them the power to change how their services are run, we’re seeing real innovation, which in turn is bringing about real improvements in efficiency. We’re living proof that it is possible to maintain and improve public services for less.” 

Following the visit to services the Minister met with employee representatives to hear about their experiences, and discussed the challenges and opportunities for mutual models in public services with Central Surrey Health board members. Francis Maude concluded: “The Coalition Government’s vision for a big society is about taking power away from bureaucrats and supporting people on the ground to get on with the job. There are thousands of front-line public sector staff who can see how to do things better. I think this can become a real mass movement that will result in better services at less cost. We all know there’s less money to go round these days, but staff at Central Surrey Health show that more can be done for less.”