CSH Surrey – Our EO Story

CSH Surrey was the first employee owned organisation of its kind to be created out of the NHS. In 2006 a pioneering group of more than 550 nurses and therapists chose to set up their own business, believing they could deliver higher quality healthcare independently.

Culturally, employee ownership with CSH Surrey means respecting and treating colleagues as equal owners of the business, whatever their job role. We do this through our CARE Values of Compassion, Accountability, Respect and Excellence.

CSH Surrey has an active employee ‘council’ called The Voice, whose elected employee representatives ensure colleagues’ voices are heard at Board level. Their role is to challenge and question CSH Surrey’s strategy and performance on behalf of their constituents, ensuring CSH Surrey continues to operate in the best interests of patients, its employees and the organisation.

Over the past fifteen years CSH has grown significantly, now employing more than 2,000 people and is the eight largest 100% employee-owned organisation in the UK*.

The global coronavirus pandemic presented CSH with unprecedented challenges. As a community healthcare provider, caring for adults, children and their families, CSH’s employee ownership model meant it was able to rapidly adapt the way it ran services.

Using the latest technology, such as virtual patient video consultations, it was possible to provide safe, high quality care to people across Surrey.

At the same time CSH’s expertise in delivering mass immunisation programmes, such as flu and HPV (human papillomavirus), was called upon in the national roll out of the COVID-19 vaccines, at the beginning of this year.

Setting up a mass vaccination centre at Epsom Downs Racecourse was a huge logistical challenge. With the help of healthcare colleagues as well as volunteers from St John Ambulance and the military the centre provided more than 125,000 vaccinations before moving the entire operation to another racecourse at Sandown Park where it continues to protect the Surrey community.

The uncertainties of the pandemic placed additional burdens on CSH Surrey’s workforce. The emotional and physical toll of facing such exceptional circumstances at work, combined with not having the usual outlets away from work, meant that there was a real risk of these stresses becoming overbearing.

Through its health and wellbeing programme, CSH made sure that all its colleagues were able to easily access help and support whenever they needed. This was particularly important with many of its staff working in isolation and lacking regular contact with colleagues.

A visual ‘puzzle head’ using a QR code was used extensively to signpost colleagues to a range of support and people to talk to. This has been featured on computer screensavers, within e-newsletters, stickers and posters.

Health and wellbeing has also featured in staff personal development reviews and a series of in person and virtual discussion sessions where colleagues could come together to share their experiences. Access to a confidential support line and online wellbeing resources have also been made available together with manager facilitated counselling.

Steve Flanagan, CEO of CSH, said: “Throughout the pandemic our colleagues have faced intense professional and personal challenges. No one could have been prepared for the unique circumstances we have encountered this past year or so. The emotional toll has been particularly difficult to deal with. However, as an employee owned organisation, we have been able to be more flexible and agile in the way we have responded. We have also worked in close collaboration with partner organisations, in the NHS and private industry.

“It has been quite humbling the way everyone has come together and joined forces in the battle against coronavirus. I truly believe that being an employee-owned organisation has helped us to overcome these challenges together and that we have become an even stronger organisation as a result.”

CSH’s video, shown at their recent annual general meeting, highlights some of its work during the pandemic: https://vimeo.com/542613910

*Source: https://employeeownership.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Employee-Ownership-Top-50-2020.pdf