Management at Yeovil District Hospital are under fire from staff in public service union UNISON after refusing to release details of their plan to outsource 350 Yeovil hospital staff.
If Trust bosses succeed, the 350 estates and facilities staff and hospital buildings will move into a “subsidiary company”. The Trust will initially own the “subco” but it will not be part of the NHS. YDH has argued the new structure provides “flexibility” but have declined to share the business case since January. Other NHS Trusts have claimed subcos allow them to reclaim VAT and change staff terms and conditions.
In one day of campaigning on Tuesday (28 November), UNISON gathered signatures of over 10% of hospital staff. The union’s petition calls for the outsourcing plan to be halted to enable consultation to commence. The Board will make the final decision on the plan to outsource 350 Yeovil hospital staff at its meeting on 20 December. Staff have not had a say on the plans and the Trust has confirmed to UNISON it will not provide information to allow informed consultation.
The Trust have barred UNISON representatives from meetings about the subco.
UNISON South West head of health Helen Eccles said:
“The NHS needs more joined up services, not to be splitting staff in the same hospital into false categories. Everyone from admin to porters to senior consultants plays a role in looking after patients. Estates and facilities staff feel that management do not value their contribution to the NHS. This plan to outsource 350 Yeovil hospital staff will only make this worse.
“It’s a slap in the face for staff to be stripped of the NHS badge that means so much. What’s more, after staff are out of the NHS their pay and conditions are on the table. How can we take seriously warm words about pay protection from a Trust that won’t even consult with its employees? Staff across YDH departments are worried that they will be next to go if management get their way in estates and facilities.
“We understand that the government’s failure to invest has put NHS trusts into financial dire straits. But subcos in other NHS Trusts have not delivered the promised savings. People want to see their taxes spent on patient care, not paying private sector consultants for glossy brochures. UNISON has offered to work with YDH to find a better plan. But if hospital bosses insist on their risky scheme then they need to know that staff are united in their opposition to breaking up the NHS.”
- UNISON has been barred from the next Board meeting on 20 December
- UNISON has also been barred from Workforce Committee meetings by YDH
- The Trust have stated they will only eventually share a redacted business case with UNISON
- Read more about NHS subsidiary companies