Union anger over plans to transfer health trust staff to new company

Sandwell Park. Picture by FRANK REID

Unions have slammed proposals by health chiefs to transfer 500 staff to a new private subsidiary organisation.

Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust is looking to transfer the workers to TEWV Estates and Facilities Management Ltd, which the trust set up last year.

The mental health trust provides services in Hartlepool, including at Sandwell Park.

A business plan is currently being prepared which is set to go before the trust board later this month.

Now, the GMB union has raised concerns over the move.

GMB Northern Regional Officer for the trust, Louise Race said: “The question needs to be asked who will benefit by this practice?

“In our view this will not be the patients, their families nor the workforce.

“The NHS is funded by the public and it is absolutely galling that this practice is even contemplated.”

The GMB added that it is looking at all avenues possible if the implementation of the business plan has a detrimental effect on its members.

Mrs Race added: “We are looking at a lobby of the board meeting.

“We do not want the abuse of public finances to end up with what happened with Carillion, nor do we want executives cutting terms and conditions or the reduction in service provision.

“This practice has to stop and the trust should think again.

“In addition this practice removes staff from the NHS National Pay Bargaining Agreement, most of these staff have worked under this for 20 years or more.

“The GMB is against the move in its entirety and we are campaigning to oppose this because if we don’t we will see a continued fragmentation of our public services throughout the whole of our NHS sector, leaving both staff and our vulnerable public in a poorer state of affairs and possibly through time no services if these companies fail to deliver.”

Colin Martin, chief executive at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, said: “TEWV Estates and Facilities Management Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, was set up in late 2017, to step in, if required, to provide estates and facilities management services at Roseberry Park.

“This took place on June 18, 2018.

“The trust is engaged in ongoing dialogue with the trade unions over the scope of the services which will be provided by TEWV EFM Ltd and related issues.

“A full business case is now being developed to consider transferring the trust’s estates and facilities management services into the wholly owned subsidiary, TEWV EFM Ltd.

“This will be considered by the board at its meeting at the end of September.

“The board is very clear that the subsidiary company should uphold the trust’s values and this will be part of the contract arrangements.”

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