The health and social care secretary has confirmed that NHS staff working for social enterprises will have their pay uplift fully funded.

In a ministerial statement, Jeremy Hunt confirmed that a “small number of non-statutory non-NHS organisations” employing around 16,000 existing and new staff on Agenda for Change rates would receive funding for the pay uplift.

Social enterprises providing NHS funded services have welcomed the move to fund them on the same basis as other NHS organisations for the three year pay deal.

Earlier this month, Antony Kildare, chair of Medway Community Healthcare, wrote to Mr Hunt warning of a “catastrophic effect” and social enterprises being left unviable if the deal was not fully funded.

Jo Pritchard, the health and social care lead for Social Enterprise UK, said that leaving social enterprises out of any funded deal would have felt “really perverse”, as they were at the heart of NHS services in many areas.

HSJ has asked the Department of Health and Social Care to clarify whether the extra money will come from additional money provided by the Treasury for the NHS pay deal (£800m in 2018-19), which covers more than a million workers.

Social enterprises have been lobbying MPs since the AfC deal was agreed in March, as they feared they would not be able to afford the increases without additional funding.

Many of them developed out of the community services side of primary care trusts in 2011 and have continued to pay staff AfC rates – although a small number are thought to have moved away from this to offer more “nuanced” terms and conditions, said Ms Pritchard.

Previous AfC pay increases – which were at a very low level – have generally been reflected in contracts social enterprises had with commissioners. 

HSJ has also reported that thousands of primary care staff will be left behind by the NHS pay deal, after the DHSC confirmed the deal did not apply to them.