Proposals to outsource non-clinical staff services to a private company at the East Sussex NHS Trust has ‘set alarm bells ringing’, a union has said.
The trust, which runs Eastbourne DGH and the Conquest Hospital, has said it will put some of its non-clinical services out to tender.
This includes occupational services and nursery services for staff working within the trust. Companies will be able to bid for a contract to run the services, which is currently provided by the NHS. The trust said it has no plans to put clinical services out to tender.
Union GMB said it will campaign against the possibility of outsourcing, and said it was concerned about other non-clinical services being reviewed and put out to tender.
Gary Palmer, GMB organiser, said, “The trust must learn that they simply cannot simply opt to cut and sell their way out of the hospital’s current financial crisis. It is never going to be a long term solution for their managerial incompetence and frankly it’s just too high a price to pay for staff, patients and public.”
The union said the trust has invited external providers to bid for occupational services and nursery services contracts,with Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.
“These proposals have sent alarm bells ringing around the trust,” said Mr Palmer. “GMB opposes all forms of privatisation and outsourcing of NHS services.”
In response, the East Sussex NHS Trust said, “The trust, like all NHS organisations, needs to be as efficient as possible to ensure it provides best value for money for the taxpayer. It is particularly important that all our non-clinical support services are as efficient and effective as possible so we can prioritise investment in clinical care.
“The aim is to ensure all these services are the best they can be and support us in delivering the best possible clinical care to our patients.
“We are exploring a number of options one of which is considering whether there are any external providers who could work with us to run our Occupational Health and Nursery Services. Looking at the options including those in the private sector is prudent and does not predetermine a decision.”
A final decision will be made in June.