STRUCTURE: NHS Gloucestershire will be allowed to consider setting up a community foundation trust to house its provider arm, after being granted special permission from the Department of Health.

In a letter to local campaigners, who supported a judicial review which forced the primary care trust to halt its plans to transfer its provider arm to a social enterprise, NHS Gloucestershire chief executive Jan Stubbings said staff would be consulted on the option of setting up and NHS trust.

“We have this week received notification from the Department of Health that our board will be allowed to consider, amongst others, the option of the establishment of an NHS Trust to provide these services (as a precursor to a possible application for Community Foundation Trust status).  

“The management of Gloucestershire Care Services (GCS) will be talking with their staff over the coming days and weeks and will be inviting them to indicate their preference on what form GCS should express an interest in the future management of services. This could include the creation of an NHS Trust.”

Campaign group Stroud Against the Cuts, who have been fighting for the services to stay within the NHS, welcomed the news.

The PCT is currently advertising for expressions of interest in providing the services, worth around £100m per annum.

Ms Stubbings said: “There will be 30 days for providers and interested parties to express an interest. Once we have completed this stage, we will carry out staff and public engagement and our board will carefully review all of the options.

“They will then decide whether a contract with a provider can be entered into at this point or whether a tender process is required.”