The importance and functions of healthcare sponsors in the UK

Dec 03, 2019
Paul Johnson

In the healthcare sector, a sponsor is an employer, an institution, a company, a group of organizations, or some other body that establishes and supports a healthcare plan such as employer-sponsored group disability policy, accident insurance for the benefit of the organization’s employees.

Health care sponsors take on the responsibility of launching, managing, and financing health care services.

There are sponsors for employment services and sponsors for project-based research within and outside the NHS.

The UK policy framework for health and social care research states that a sponsor is an “individual, organization or partnership that takes on overall responsibility for proportionate, effective arrangements being in place to set up, run and report on a research project.”

For MRC institutes, sponsorship responsibilities are assigned to the Director. MRC policy states that information should be held centrally on all relevant research to be undertaken within the institute.

It is the responsibility of MRC units/institutes as a sponsor and an employing organization to ensure that arrangements are in place for planning a study.  (Many of these responsibilities are likely to be delegated to the Chief Investigator and Research Team and are listed at the end of this document.  However, it is worthy of mention that it is ultimately the sponsor’s responsibility to ensure that.

Sponsors come to the fore also when employing someone or people outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to work in the UK. They play an essential role in aiding the employment of non-European workers into the health care system.

A sponsor can assign specific responsibilities to any other individual or organization that is willing and able to accept them. Any allocation of duties to another party should be formally agreed upon and documented by the sponsor.

Every study that falls under the remit of the Secretary of State for Health must have a formal sponsor. This includes all research in health and social care that involve NHS patients. There are similar requirements for research involving social care practitioners, clients, and resources, where this falls under the Secretary of State for Health’s remit.

Research carried out without the NHS should also have a sponsor to take on the specific responsibilities of the role and ensure that all requirements are met.

The functions of health care sponsors are enumerated below:

  • You are to ensure that your foreign workers possess the necessary skills, qualifications or professional accreditations to do their jobs, and keep copies of documents showing this
  • only assign certificates of sponsorship to workers when the job is suitable for support
  • inform UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) if your sponsored workers are not complying with the conditions of their visa

More so, for sponsors that have HR personnel, part of their functions include the following:

  • keep copies of relevant documents for each employee, including passport and right to work information
  • monitor your employees’ immigration status
  • track and record employees’ attendance
  • keep employee contact details up to date
  • report to UKVI if there is a problem, for example, if your employee stops coming to work

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