Imran calls for plans for Bradford’s hospitals to establish private companies to be scrapped ahead of July’s board decision, warning against them as another example of ‘backdoor privatisation’ that threatens staff rights and patient safety.
The Bradford Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, which runs both the BRI and St Luke’s Hospital, announced in January this year that they planned to pursue plans to create a private company to run services such as cleaning, porters and catering in the two hospitals, leading to criticism and opposition from Imran who has called them a threat to patient safety and staff rights.
Whilst a board meeting of the Trust was due to consider the plans in March this year, it has emerged that they will now consider the plans and vote on the business case presented for them in July. Following this, Mr Hussain has met with the Chief Executive of the Trust and has written to all members of the Trust’s board to express his serious concerns with the plans.
Listing his concerns in his letters and discussion with Chief Executive, Clive Kay, Imran has stated that the Trust must not create a two-tier workforce that is widely seen as a disadvantage by those within the NHS, by employing new staff on less favourable contracts with no access to the NHS Pension Scheme. He has also echoed the concerns of UNISON who represent staff at the Trust, in stating that past experience of privatisation in the NHS shows that any savings will be entirely short term.
Imran further raised concerns that policies such as those proposed by the Trust will negatively affects staff morale and makes the NHS a less attractive workplace, and will in turn escalate workforce shortages that are already plaguing the NHS, costing the NHS and Trusts more in the long term by forcing an increased spend on temporary agency staff employed at higher cost.
Speaking on the Trust’s pushing back the board decision establishing a wholly owned subsidiary company from March to July, Imran said:
“In July the Bradford NHS Trust board will get the chance to vote down these plans and stop another fragmentation of our NHS, and I hope that in the interests of patient safety and NHS staff, they do the right thing and choose to not take them forward, not duck the decision and push it back again.
“Under this Government, backdoor privatisation of our NHS has become rife, and it is clear to me that any mass involvement of the private sector, who are focused on profit and shareholders not safety and patients, will be bad for our health service.
“Bradford NHS Trust may say that the subsidiary company that they establish will still be owned by the Trust, but there is nothing preventing them from selling it on to a private company at a later date to turn a quick profit, further eroding staff rights and putting patients at risk, and I have been given no assurances that this is not an option for the Trust.
“I fully support staff at the Trust in their efforts to protect their working rights, the rights of their colleagues and the safety of the hospital, but I hope that we will not reach that stage and Bradford NHS Trust will see that their plans are not in the public interest and have the support of no one but the private companies that will start circling the hospital.”