• South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust board approves creation of commercial joint venture
  • “Alternative delivery model” will run facilities and manage growth of trust’s international work, identifying UAE and China
  • Will also manage estates “commercialisation” and UK private practice
  • Due to launch in the new year, in partnership with Northumbria Healthcare FT’s arm’s-length commercial body

A leading mental health trust is creating a joint venture organisation to develop its commercial work, including private care in the Middle East and potentially China.  

South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust’s board has approved the creation of an “alternative delivery model” to run its private and international work while also developing the trust’s capital assets and employing its facilities staff.

SLAM took advice from Northumbria Healthcare FT on creating the body, on the recommendation of NHS Improvement.

The trust said the joint venture limited liability partnership with Northumbria Healthcare Facilities Management could bring in between £10m and £15m “over a five to 10 year period”. It added: “This is substantial, considering the underlying deficit of SLAM is £16m a year”.

The joint venture’s activities will include:

  • International work under the “Maudsley Health” banner, where “rapid growth” is expected;
  • The founding of “Maudsley Learning”;
  • “Commercialisation of estates”;
  • Exploration of feasibility of “exploitation of intellectual property, including digital data exploitation”;
  • A business case for “private practice services”; and
  • Estates and capital projects – “strengthening existing capability and building a programme structure for large scale modernisation”.

The joint venture’s business case promised “rapid growth in the United Arab Emirates and perfecting an operational franchise model for other overseas markets such as China”.

Maudsley Learning would involve “creating a supply chain for world-leading, mental health training and development products, exploiting them on multiple platforms, establishing a brand in training and development and partnering for growth in the UK and overseas”.

Meanwhile, the private practice work would see the organisation “[use] the Maudsley brand as a ‘family friendly, highly expert and respected’ brand, proud of its NHS core and heritage, to carve out a share of the rapidly growing private mental health market both to support recruitment and retention of professionals and to make an economic contribution”.

The joint venture could start trading as early as January 2020, the board report said, with a starting turnover of £64m – £31m of which would be funds for construction work, £31m for the facilities and estates management, and £2m for commercial work.

The creation of private entities to employ staff has proved contentious with unions in the past, which tend to argue that, although existing staff may be transferred on NHS terms, new joiners will not be on these terms, creating a two-tier workforce.

The trust’s HR director Mary Foulkes assured the board in July that new joiners would not be disadvantaged in this way.

The trust estimates roughly 40 of these private bodies exist in the NHS at the moment.

The joint venture would employ roughly 192 people, the trust estimated.

The trust told HSJ Maudsley Health was a collaboration between the trust and Macani Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi. It involves a trust-managed outpatient service with visiting consultants running specialist clinics. Last year, Maudsley Health got a consultancy contract at the Al Amal Hospital in Dubai.