Hartlepool MP expresses concern after launch of hospital trust’s new venture

Trust staff at  the launch of North Tees and Hartlepool Solutions
Trust staff at the launch of North Tees and Hartlepool Solutions

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has expressed concerns after a health trust set up a subsidiary company to provide some services.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the University Hospital of Hartlepool and also North Tees in Stockton, launched its new company on Thursday.

Staff from the trust’s procurement, supplies, estates and facilities departments have moved to the company called North Tees and Hartlepool Solutions.

It says it will allow it to explore new business opportunities and improve its financial stability.

But town MP Mike Hill says it represents a move away from the NHS’s public service ethos towards commercialism and has questioned what it will mean for employees.

He said: “I fully understand that the trust is running at a significant deficit for the first time in its history due to Government pressure to provide efficiency savings, but establishing what in effect is a private commercial arm to bring in new business opportunities and create new income streams for the trust is fraught with danger.

“It also potentially paves the way for watering down staff pay, pension contributions and terms and conditions as the Limited Liability Partnership could at any point issue a 90-day notice to opt out of national agreements.

“Precious little is known about the scope and detail of the specific services that will transfer to the company or the number of staff affected.

“There appears to have been precious little consultation with trade unions and the public on this initiative and Hartlepool citizens will want to know how this all impacts on services at the hospital.”

A spokesperson for the trust said: “This is a unique development opportunity for the trust to ensure it can continue to deliver the best level of care to its patients.

“This is not a new idea – trusts across the country have already implemented this with great success and we have worked closely with neighbouring trusts during our project to learn from their experiences.”