Writing to the Health Secretary following Bradford NHS Trust’s decision to establish a private, wholly owned subsidiary operating estate and facility services for the Trust, Imran has demanded the halt of plans to establish private companies by NHS Trusts.
The controversial decision to establish the wholly owned subsidiary, which will operate as a private company, was taken by the Board of the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on Wednesday 25 July having been previously proposed in January this year when it was met with hostility from Imran who declared it as another dangerous act of “backdoor privatisation” pushed by the Tory Government on the NHS.
However, despite the plans being passed by the Bradford NHS Foundation Trust, similar plans by non-Foundation Trusts in Mid-Yorkshire and Leeds which require permission due to their non-Foundation status have been denied by NHS Improvement (NHSI).
In his letter to the Health Secretary, Imran states that this not only demonstrates a clear gap between Foundation and non-Foundation NHS Trusts, but also a shift in policy following previous decisions by NHSI to grant applications from non-Foundation Trusts outside Yorkshire, and he asks why Foundation Trusts such as those in Bradford are exempt from seeking permission despite the existence of clear concerns by NHSI that prevent them granting permission.
Following this, Imran has further demanded that the Health Secretary impose a ban on NHS Trusts creating private companies until measures are put in place to prevent Trusts selling them, protect staff by guaranteeing their rights awarded as NHS staff and preventing them from being transferred to the private company without their consent, ensure the safety of patients and align Foundation Trusts and Non-Foundation Trusts without vetoes or special privileges for either.
Imran has also written to the Chief Executive of Bradford NHS Foundation Trust expressing his disappointment with the decision taken by the Board, and seeking assurances that staff and patients will be protected.
Speaking on the decision by the Board of Bradford NHS Foundation Trust to create a wholly owned subsidiary, Imran said:
“I’m extremely disappointed by the decision taken by Bradford NHS Foundation Trust to move forward with their plans to create a private company to run vital estate and facility services, and I am very concerned that it is yet another act of dangerous backdoor privatisation in our NHS. It is not the best decision for the NHS in Bradford, for staff or for patients, and the Trust must consider their decision.
“Privatisation has been devastating for our NHS and I have long been opposed to it. It puts the safety of patients at risk as we have seen in numerous other instances of privatisation in the NHS, and it runs contrary to the very principles and ideals of a public health service. It also undermines the employment rights of staff who joined as NHS employees, and their existing conditions must be protected with a guarantee they will not be transferred to the private company without their consent.
“I have been given no real assurances that the company will not be sold off, that the rights of staff will be protected and that the safety of patients will not deteriorate under the private company. Until measures can be put in place to ensure these, the Trust must halt their plans or they must be forced to do so by the Health Secretary, and I will be closely monitoring the situation.”