NHS holds off on private sector deal as North Bristol NHS keeps services “in house”

GMB, the union for NHS staff, has praised North Bristol NHS Trust’s decision to keep non clinical services in house. The trust decided not to establish a subsidiary company to run non-clinical services at NBT, after prolonged challenge from union.

The move means that all facilities services will remain within the Trust and will not be under a pseudo-private company. In June 2017 North Bristol Trust commissioned a feasibility study on the possibility of setting up a subsidiary company to run non clinical services throughout the Trust.

Unions were broadly against the idea, which they believe would eventually mean changes to long established pension schemes, possible challenges to the current pay agreement and the potential outsourcing of staff on to contracts with poorer terms and conditions.

However the Trust has now decided against the setting up of a subsidiary company until at least the 2018-19 financial year, deciding to concentrate its resources on resolving the issues thrown up by the winter crisis, including patient flow. [1]

Paul Gage, GMB Lead NHS Officer for Wales and South West, said: “We’re broadly pleased that the Trust has dropped these plans at this time.

“Whilst we appreciate the financial pressures that the Trust is under, usually these arrangements end up with hardworking staff seeing a host of their terms and conditions overturned so that the Trusts can plug the gap in funding dished down from central government.

“That’s simply not fair on the overworked staff who do a fantastic job in difficult circumstances.

“I want to particularly praise the Branch Secretary and Staff Side Chair Colin Puckett who has campaigned hard to protect the Terms and Conditions of the Facilities staff at NBT. There is no doubt that his tireless activity has had a huge influence in this outcome.

“We hope that other local trusts like Bath and Yeovil, who are also considering establishing Subsidiary companies, will also follow suit and drop these plans to privatise their Facilities Directorates and maintain the hard-fought contracts of the NHS’s greatest asset, its world class staff.”

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