UNISON demands answers on PFI hospital schemes

UNISON, the UK’s largest health union, today demanded answers from the Department of Health, over plans to go ahead and issue tenders for new hospital PFI schemes.

Paul Marks, UNISON National Secretary for Health, said

“The public and health workers will welcome the prospect of new hospitals serving their local communities. But UNISON has grave concerns over the long term impact of PFI schemes on the tax-payer as well as on NHS staff. We will be seeking assurances from the Government that health workers will stay in the NHS and not be sold off to private contractors.

“We do not want another Dudley to develop where staff took strike action to defend their jobs in the NHS. An agreement was reached last year for pilot schemes where NHS staff such as porters, cleaners, cooks, laundry and security personnel would no longer be at the mercy of private contractors, who have consistently driven down wages and conditions. We want to ensure that this announcement does not undermine those negotiations.

“UNISON maintains its opposition to the principle of using PFI as we do not believe that it is good value for money. Private companies are cashing-in on PFI schemes at the expense of patients, workers and the taxpayer.”