Public sector

Why set up an NHS company?

Alternative delivery models provide NHS organisations with the opportunity and capabilities to delivery services while improving their financial sustainability.

Thinking innovatively about how to deliver services and starting NHS companies can help ensure quality service amidst the continuous financial restrictions on the NHS.

NHS companies can help deliver many different services, ranging from pharmaceutical through to respite care. There are many different types of NHS companies and it is key to identify which one will provide the greatest level of benefit and flexibility in delivering your business plan

NHS companies – An enterprising approach to health (PDF) [ 1884 kb ]’ examines these different structures, providing examples of bodies that have successfully implemented a company structure, or are doing so now. We have drawn from these stories to provide recommendations to help identify the key considerations at each stage to ensure success.

The organisation must understand the key driver behind the decision to make the change. We examine some common key drivers in our report (see Figure 1) including the need to reduce expenditure, increase income, improve services and manage risk.

Figure 1. Key drivers for setting up an NHS company

Key drivers for setting up an NHS company

And considered the benefits of setting up a commercial structure such as:

  • People - aligning ethos and objectives so that the chosen structure has private sector freedoms and maintains public sector values
  • Financial - improving flexibilities for cash management
  • Management - maintaining a level of control through a company structure rather than outsourcing
  • Service - creating something bespoke and relevant to the local economy using a hybrid of different service models
  • Growth - expanding core areas, allowing the trust to invest and diversify and seek business in new areas not available to the NHS

“Our initial drivers for setting up the company were around financial savings, but there were other advantages such as being able to offer services over more hours and improving discharge speed, both of which improved the service received by our patients.”

To find out more about the different structures available, the key considerations around each and the benefits they can deliver download ‘NHS companies – An enterprising approach to health (PDF) [ 1884 kb ]