Victory for NHS campaigners as Southmead privatisation scrapped

Campaigning by NHS staff and trade unions has seen plans for Southmead privatisation scrapped by the hospital board.

NHS staff and trade unions have welcomed news from North Bristol Trust ditching plans to outsource hundreds of workers.

Over 1800 NBT staff signed a petition coordinated by UNISON against the subsidiary company (subco).

Bristol’s four Labour MPs opposed the subco plans following briefings from UNISON detailing the problems it could cause for patients.

Workers including porters, caterers, and medical equipment cleaning staff will now remain within the NHS. Their wages, sick pay and pensions will continue to be protected by national NHS agreements.

The hospital board announced the decision at a meeting last night.

Subco plans are still being worked on by hospitals in Bath and Gloucestershire. 350 staff at Yeovil hospital transferred to a subco yesterday (Thursday 1 February).

UNISON regional organiser Christina Cooke said

“Patients and staff at Southmead are breathing a sigh of relief today. The subco would have split up health services making it harder for patients to see the right person at the right time. It also opened the door to worse jobs for health staff with cuts to wages, sick pay and pensions.

“Thousands of staff at Southmead made it clear to hospital bosses that they are one team. They won’t give up their NHS badges without a fight. UNISON told the Board how concerned staff were, and I’m glad they’ve listened and changed course.

“The NHS is still under colossal pressure. UNISON will be working with Southmead hospital to manage pressures on staff. It’s more important than ever that public service workers join their trade union so we can speak with one voice”.

The fight to keep the NHS united continues