Rotherham Hospital staff could be privatised to cut costs

By Dave Doyle | 03/11/2017

Rotherham Hospital staff could be privatised to cut costs
Rotherham Hospital

SUPPORTING roles at Rotherham Hospital may be privatised to save money.

Affected staff might include porters and cleaners, according to a source inside the hospital.

The worker said non-medical staff were worried about their contracts being handed to private firms.

He said: “I heard that they want to bring in an outside company. Apparently it could save them up to 20 per cent on staff costs.

“Porters, domestic and estates staff are all affected. We’re talking about hundreds of jobs. It’s a mess.”

He added: “Everyone’s mad because it affects pensions, holidays, sick pay and all sorts.

“And it’s more privatisation of the NHS. It doesn’t sound right to me at all.

“We’re millions of pounds in debt, people are leaving in droves and the ones who got us in this mess, at the top, are doing this to the lowest-paid.”

The worker claimed a senior manager at the hospital confirmed the privatisation plans to them last week.

The process could take place within the next 12 months, he said.

A spokesman for the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust said “outsourcing” some roles was an option currently being considered.

Other possibilities include setting up new companies to run certain services, he added.

But he insisted that nothing had been decided and added: “As a trust, we have a requirement to review our services to ensure we are getting value for money whilst providing the best possible care for patients.

“This involves exploring how services can be provided going forward which could include collaboration, outsourcing or becoming a wholly owned subsidiary model.

“At this stage nothing has been decided and options are being considered as well as the possibility of continuing with the current service model.”

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said the plans were sneaky but accepted the need to cut costs.

She said: “What frustrates me enormously is that it always seems to be people on the lowest wages facing the challenge.

“If you privatise, then you have to charge more or profits have to come out of people’s wages.

“But if we don’t get the highest standards from people like cleaners,\!then we get problems like MRSA.

“If cleaning and hygiene are outsourced, you have less control over it.

“This is scratching at the edges, rather than dealing with the bigger problems and it’s not fair.”

Ms Champion expressed concerns that cutbacks could mean neighbouring trusts taking over some services.

“I worry that we will become little more than a drop-in centre,” she said. “Rotherham is a distinct town and it deserves its own service.

“Can you imagine getting to Sheffield for treatment, never mind parking there? It’s just not good enough, and it’s sneaky as well.”

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