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  • Shine A Light!

    Our speech and language therapists highlighted the importance of their work at a conference held in Norfolk. Do you know what they do? Read on and find out!  read more

    11/04/2014

About Us

East Coast Community Healthcare CIC (ECCH) is a staff owned Social Enterprise, providing community based NHS and social care chiefly in Great Yarmouth & Waveney.

Our services include district nursing, health visiting, community in-patient services, physiotherapy, speech & language therapy, occupational therapy, specialist nursing care, palliative care, a primary care centre, breastfeeding support, contraceptive and sexual health services, school nursing and public health services.

We have contracts with the NHS and two County Councils. At least 70,000 people are registered as service users with ECCH. That’s one third of the population of the area we serve.

Why did ECCH become a social enterprise?

We were part of the local NHS Primary Care Trust. We applied to become a social enterprise so that we could take charge of our own destiny and make real improvements in services to patients. It was widely recognised at the time of our spin-out that the social enterprise model would offer us the opportunity to create a more sustainable and flexible organisation. We are a ‘human’ organisation in every way, most of our funds are spent on staff to care for people and we have an ethos of high quality care, every time.

Why does being a social enterprise make a difference?

The difference is that staff have a stake – and therefore a real say – in how the organisation works. Social enterprises offer staff a new sense of belonging. They can even become a Staff Director and sit on the Board, if they’re elected by their colleagues.

One of the current Staff Directors is Teresa Gooch, a senior physiotherapist: "The social enterprise model fits perfectly,” she said.

“We are passionate about the care and services we provide but an important difference is that clinicians can influence the strategic direction we take is in the very best interests of patients and clients.

“There is an energy and buzz about ECCH which makes it truly outstanding.”

Recognition for ECCH

In 2013, ECCH was “Highly Commended” in a national competition to find the “Public Sector Mutual of the Year” – the Philip Baxendale Awards.

Afterwards, the Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude wrote congratulating ECCH for the “significant improvements to community healthcare provision since its transfer to an employee owned social enterprise in October 2011.

Mr Maude said in his letter: “ECCH has made positive changes to the healthcare services provided to local citizens in Great Yarmouth and Waveney.”

Strong performance as a social enterprise

In our first year turnover was £38.1m and profit was £714,000, 40% ahead of plan. We have invested over £100,000 in information technology, which improves efficiency and flexibly for the benefit of patients. Through operational efficiencies and improved sub-contracting we reduced corporate expenditure by nearly £185,000. The reduction in staff sickness levels equates to a saving of approximately £250,000 and gives better continuity of care as a result.

Over 40% of staff are shareholders - well above average for a social enterprise. We established “The Hub” which holds regular meetings for shareholders to aid communication and future growth. Two Staff Directors, elected by shareholders, sit on the Board. Shareholders played a full role in the appointment of the Chair and Non-Executive Directors, playing an integral role ‘from the ground up’ in the continuing direction of the business. Shareholders are regularly consulted.

Achievements as a social enterprise