Condemning ‘back door’ privatisation of NHS

Published: 04 October 2019 Ezine

At TUC Congress 2019, delegates voted unanimously in support of the Society's motion to put pressure on National Health Service trusts in England and stop them outsourcing vital services to subsidiaries and shell companies.

Sue Webb, the SoR's immediate past president and chair of UK Council, highlighted concerns that trusts are continuing to offload work to businesses despite being advised by NHS Improvement in 2018 to pause plans to
set-up more subsidiaries.

"Wholly owned subsidiaries are leading to back door privatisation of the NHS," Sue said.

"Dozens of trusts have set up these subsidiary companies in the last few years, often to deliver savings from non-clinical services and VAT. Staff can be employed on pay and conditions worse than under Agenda for Change, as well as being denied access to the NHS pension scheme, sickness and absence policies," she continued.

"This is a cynical attempt to exploit the poorer paid members of staff in the NHS. Cost cutting can lead to potential threats to patient safety and care because employees of these companies are not trained to do their jobs to the high standards NHS trusts aspire to.

"There is overwhelming evidence of the failure of outsourcing in the NHS."

The motion called on the TUC General Council to "maintain pressure on NHS trusts and join with other health unions in calling for this pause (by NHS Improvement) to become a complete cessation.

The Society also want the TUC to support union members taking action against shell companies.