What is Bevan Healthcare and how did you start?
Bevan Healthcare is a general medical practice that provides primary care for marginalised groups such as the homeless, refugees and asylum seekers.
The practice started in 2003 and was run by the Primary Care Trust in Bradford, but when the proposals for the changes to the NHS became a reality and there was the possibility that Bevan would be tendered out. The staff felt it was the right time to ‘spin out’ from the NHS and became a social enterprise, community interest company (CIC) on 1st September 2011. The practice has grown in patient numbers since Sept 2011 seeing the list rise from 1,450 patients to over 2,000 by Feb 2013.
What challenges have you faced?
Being a new business has been a challenge. Being run by a large organisation like the PCT, cushioned and supported the practice and breaking away has meant we have had to learn fast. There are lots of regulations being an NHS body but added to that the social enterprise and CIC regulations there is lots to take on board. The finance function was operated by the large finance department at the PCT and now we have to do all this ourselves. Getting to grips with a new accounting package and learning how to produce management accounts has been challenging.
How has WYCAS been able to help you?
Bevan engaged the services of WYCAS at the outset which was essential to get us on the right track, as at the beginning there were no systems in place at all. Simon Bostrom came into the practice with his ‘hands on’ approach and set up some basic systems to get us going. Simon then came in on a regular basis to introduce a new finance package and training. During the first 12 months he assisted the practice business manager, getting all the historical and on-going financial data onto the system. As confidence grew and the information was being updated regularly and satisfactorily, Simon continued to visit the practice but less frequently. This gave me the time to update the system and the confidence of doing this on my own. Simon still continues to visit and is currently helping with setting budgets for the forthcoming year.
Basically, we would have really struggled to get to where we are now without Simon’s help and would not have the excellent management accounts that we produce monthly for the Board which has assisted the decisions we have made.