A COMMUNITY interest company has been appointed to provide healthcare and fund nursing services in South Gloucestershire.

Bristol Community Health was awarded the contract to provide services for continuing healthcare and funded nurses by South Gloucestershire PCT following a rigorous tender process.

The organisation, which emerged out of the NHS in 2011 to become a social enterprise, provides high quality community healthcare services across the region. It already delivers a healthcare assessment and referral service in Bristol as well as prison healthcare and learning difficulty services in South Gloucestershire.

The contract, which runs for five years, will commence on April 1 2013.

Chief executive Julia Clarke said: "We are really delighted to have won this tender to deliver continuing healthcare services for South Gloucestershire and I am confident we can deliver an excellent service for the people of South Gloucestershire.

"Our expertise and experience in providing continuing healthcare, having delivered a high quality service in Bristol since 2004, puts us in a really strong position to provide this service in South Gloucestershire as well.

"Bristol Community Health already provides a number of services in South Gloucestershire, including prison healthcare for HMP Eastwood Park and HMP Leyhill, so we already know the region well and are confident we can hit the ground running in our delivery."

Services provided by the company will include assessment for eligibility and arrangement of continuing healthcare and funded nursing care, which is care provided by a registered nurse for people living in care homes.

Bristol Community Health general manager Ceridwen Massey said: "Bristol Community Health is committed to delivering a gold standard continuing healthcare service for South Gloucestershire and will work collaboratively with the services existing staff, patients, carers and other NHS and social care providers in the county to ensure we deliver a patient-centric service."

During the first few months of 2013, the company will work closely with the existing service staff and South Gloucestershire PCT to welcome and integrate the staff effectively into its organisation.