Tuesday 21 October 2008
Bring back in-house hospital services across UK, says UNISON
UNISON, the UK's largest health union, is today calling on the
Government to follow the example set by Scotland and bring hospital
soft services back in house. The Scottish Government has announced
that all cleaning, catering and clinically related soft facilities
management services in the country's clinical premises are to be
exempt from contracting out in future schemes, whether funded through
Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) or not.
A letter from the Scottish Government to Hospital Chief Executives
across Scotland says: "The provision of soft facilities management
services such as cleaning and catering play a key role in the delivery
of clinical services in NHS Scotland. The Scottish Government believes
that NHS Scotland should therefore be responsible for the direct
delivery of these services wherever possible".
Wales has recently announced something similar and in NI the majority,
if not all services, have been retained in-house.
Karen Jennings, UNISON Head of Health said: "The rest of the UK
is pointing the way towards providing quality in-house services
such as cleaning, catering and portering. It's time that the government
realized that these staff need to feel part of the NHS team.
"UNISON has consistently called for hospital cleaners to be under
the direct control of ward staff, to fight infections such as MRSA
and C difficile and boost patient and staff confidence.
"Only last week the Healthcare Commission released performance
figures which criticised hospital cleaning standards across England.
We owe it to patients and staff to raise standards across the country.
The answer is a sharper focus on cleaning services that are a fully
funded part of the NHS - not contracted out to private firms. An
increase in the number of cleaners would help to speed up the rate
In Scotland, UNISON welcomed the announcement, but said its campaign
to bring back in-house existing PFI contractors would continue.
John Gallacher, UNISONScotland's Health Group Secretary said "UNISON
welcomes this announcement by the Cabinet Secretary. The different
approach to in-house provision in Scotland has meant staff work
more as a team. This announcement means that future developments
should continue that team approach.
"However we will be continuing our campaign to bring the remaining
outsourced services in our large PFI hospitals back in-house as
soon as they can be. Of course we would prefer if future developments
were fully publicly funded and serviced rather than via PFI, PPP
or the Scottish Futures Trust."
Further information from Anne Mitchell 0207 383 0717 In
Scotland - contact Chris Bartter, Communications Officer- 07715
583 729 Or John Gallacher - Secretary, Scottish Health Committee
- 07904 342 426