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Date: 6 Feb 2008

UNISON condemns privatisation threat to Glasgow's occupational health service

Health union UNISON today condemned plans by NHS Glasgow and Clyde to sell off their staff Occupation Health services to private sector company Capita.

The occupational health service is used to assess staff of the Board, and to recommend employers best practice in dealing with staff sickness problems.

UNISON Regional Organiser, Matt McLaughlin said, "The employers issued a briefing paper on the 1 Feb advising staff that they are negotiating with Capita with a view to selling off this service. If they are successful this would lead to the transfer of staff to the private sector. UNISON is appalled that the NHS has decided to embark upon a privatisation plan for this essential in house service and that they chose to tell staff in this way."

The union also said that the move to a private sector provider would not automatically mean that the current service could be better developed to assist the Board meet it's obligations to reduce sick leave.

Matt said, "UNISON members in the service accept that occupational health could be better developed and further enhanced, and it is clearly much easier to engage in a process which would achieve this with your own staff, than it is to change services that are provided under rigid contracts with the private sector. There is no evidence that our members won't embrace change or that the current service is below par - this is simply an attempt by NHS Glasgow and Clyde to save money and hassle by privatising the service."

UNISON is calling upon NHSGGC to put their efforts into tackling why people are sick, which the union puts down to increased stress, feeling bullied and harassed at work and poorly constructed working patterns.

Matt said, "From Nov 2006 until October 2007, there were 4307 'Acute' Division management referrals to Occupational Health and 1583 staff in the same Division made a self referral. The Board would do better to try and find out what is making their staff sick at work and work with their staff to improve their working conditions."


For Further Information Please Contact: Matt McLaughlin (Regional Organiser) 0870 7777 006 (w) 07904341979(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0870 7777 006(w) 0771 558 3729(m)