Responding to NHS Improvement’s announcement today that plans to outsource non-medical staff to subsidiary companies have been paused, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:
“This whole policy has been a damaging distraction. Valuable resources that could have gone on improving care have been wasted.
“Saving money has been the sole motive for outsourcing jobs to private companies. Cash-strapped trusts have seen it as an opportunity for solving their financial woes.
“But they didn’t anticipate the outrage among staff and including porters, cleaners and those in catering who want to stay in the NHS. Recent threatened action by UNISON at Tees and industrial action at Wigan successfully stopped subco plans in their tracks.*
“The NHS is already set to face another tough winter. Trusts must now plan ahead and work with unions to make the best possible use of resources.”
Notes to editors:
– Wholly owned subsidiaries – or subcos – are private companies established by NHS trusts. They are not liable for VAT payments in the same way NHS trusts are. This has led to accusations that trusts are using them to avoid paying VAT.
– The NHS Improvement announcement on subcos can be accessed here. It has said it will consult on a new approach in October then issue new guidance.
* In July this year, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Foundation Trust reversed plans to transfer 900 workers to NHS subsidiary firm WWL Solutions. This followed a long-running campaign and dispute led by UNISON.
Threatened action by UNISON led to Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust scrapping plans last week to transfer around 600 staff to private firm Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Estates FM Ltd.