Call to Gloucestershire health bosses to rethink plans to 'hive off' 750 NHS jobs to a separate company
February, 27, 2018
Campaigners and Stroud’s MP are calling on health bosses to pause the process which could see Gloucestershire hospital staff hived off to a separate company.
Mr Drew has today written to hospital bosses urging them to delay any decision to separate off 750 jobs until more detail is known and because of his “serious concerns about the consultation.”
Health bosses meet for a confidential meeting tomorrow, Wednesday 28 February, when it is expected they will decide whether to create a separate Sub Company or ‘SubCo’.
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has proposed creating the SubCo which will employ 750 staff at Cheltenham General Hospital and Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
But David Drew, Labour MP for Stroud has written to the trust’s board members ahead of their confidential meeting, calling for a pause in the process.
“I believe this to be one of the most, if not the most, important meetings that the Trust Board has held. While I greatly sympathise with the Board’s plight caused by underfunding, from central government, I am profoundly worried by what could result from a decision at this time,” said Mr Drew.
“This is a first step towards fragmentation and privatisation of our NHS at our county hospitals, with major implication for staff and patients. I do not believe that the Trust has made an adequate financial case for the proposal.”
A similar plan has recently been rejected by bosses at Southmead Hospital in Bristol who scrapped a proposal to set up a standalone company to employ 850 hospital staff, following a backlash from its employees.
Mr Drew said he was shocked that the Gloucestershire trust had not formally consulted members of the public, councillors or MPs about the plan which, he says, will have wide reaching implications. Mr Drew and campaigners are concerned about the impact the move could have on the Trust’s assets, including buildings; the proposed financial savings including tax implications; and the terms and conditions for staff and accountability of the new SubCo.
Campaigners from Keep Gloucestershire’s NHS Public have also written to the Board outlining the ‘urgent questions’ that they say are still unanswered, including safeguards to hospital buildings.
“There has been no reassurance from the trust about what will happen to ownership of assets, including buildings. We know that the private sector is keen to get it’s hand on the ‘family silver’,” said Caroline Molloy of Keep Gloucestershire’s NHS Public.
“We believe that public need to be given these answers before a decision is made. We support the call by David Drew MP, unions and others to, at the very least, pause the scheme so that proper public information and consultation can take place.”
They are also critical of the consultation process, which has not involved members of the public or Gloucestershire’s elected representatives or formal consideration by Gloucestershire County Council’s Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee