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Independents' Day

Hewitt push on social enterprise

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt has urged more GPs and other NHS staff to set up social enterprise companies to help improve services.

In a pamphlet, Mrs Hewitt said social enterprises, which plough their profits back into the community they service, were under-used in the health and social care sector.

Yet they were a way to deliver the best value for money and could help 'unleash' the potential for NHS staff and patients to improve services, she said.

East London Integrated Care, a social enterprise established by GPs, was officially launched this month. It covers 30 practices and is helping GPs with practice-based commissioning.

Mrs Hewitt pledged to remove any barriers to social enterprises gaining an expanded role in the NHS.

She said: 'Perhaps the most important benefit the third sector and social enterprise organisations in particular can bring, is a strong voice for service users and staff who deliver them.'

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