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Not-for-profit organisations as “preferred providers” for the NHS

A response to Andy Burnham

6th March 2015

This week, comments from the shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham, have supported the not-for-profit healthcare sector - which could see longer and more stable contracts than private companies to deliver NHS services.

At a health and social care conference of Acevo, the voluntary sector chief executives’ group, Andy Burnham discussed how not-for-profit care organisations could be given “a form of preferred provider” status under legislation that a Labour government would introduce to replace parts of the coalition’s 2012 Health and Social Care Act.

In response to these comments, Marc Bell, Chief Executive at Benenden said: “As a not-for-profit healthcare provider, Benenden would welcome this move which recognises the contribution of charity and non-profit organisations in strengthening their communities.

“A place for not-for-profit mutuals in UK healthcare is something that we at Benenden have advocated for a number of years now. We firmly believe that working in partnership with mutuals could be an effective way to tackle the issue of future funding of the NHS and deliver better health outcomes for local communities. Responding to local need is key and health mutuals like Benenden have a long history of being able to support their communities in this way.”

At Benenden, we firmly believe:

  • Mutuals should be seen as a viable alternative to ‘for-profit’ delivery
  • Mutuals are generally associated with increased employee and customer satisfaction – for example, in a 2014 Treating Customers Fairly Survey, 91% of member respondents said they trust Benenden more than other similar firms they deal or have dealt with†.
  • Mutuals already operate under the founding NHS principle of comprehensive inclusiveness.
  • Mutuals are truly customer-focused and must, by default, act in the interest of their members. Benenden Health has won the Moneywise most trusted private healthcare provider, four years running.
  • Mutuals’ surpluses are re-invested for improved services. As such, they are often trusted more highly over purely for-profit organisations