Writing to Bradford Hospitals NHS Trust following their refusal to pause their plans to establish a private company in the face of calls to do so by NHS Improvement, Imran has branded the Trust’s decision as provocative towards staff and reckless for leaving the Trust potentially in violation of new rule changes.

Under advice provided to NHS Trusts by NHS Improvement who are responsible for overseeing Foundation Trusts and NHS Trusts, hospital managers across the country have been urged to pause moves to establish wholly owned subsidiary companies ahead of plans by NHS Improvement to issue new guidance in October 2018. However, despite this request from NHS Improvement, as well as resistance from NHS staff representatives and Imran who has called for the Trust to freeze plans until measures can be put in place to protect staff and patients, Bradford Hospitals NHS Trust has refused to commit to a pause.

Whilst NHS Improvement has not yet stated what changes they plan to make to the guidance they issue to Trusts, their desire to consult on a new regulatory approach and their call to pause plans for creating new subsidiaries has led Imran to believe that there will be significant changes to the rules around subsidiary companies that may leave Bradford NHS Trust in violation of the new regulatory approach. As a result, he has written to the Chief Executive of Bradford Hospitals NHS Trust not only reiterating his serious objections to the Trust’s plans but to demand that they adhere to the request from NHS Improvement and pause their plans until new guidance on the subject is issued.

The plans to establish a ‘wholly owned subsidiary’ were first proposed by Bradford Hospitals NHS Trust in January this year before passing a vote of the Trust’s board in July, ignoring opposition from staff and Imran who called them another example of ‘dangerous backdoor privatisation’ that would damage the NHS and threaten the rights of staff and the safety of patients.

Speaking on Bradford NHS Trust’s decision to ignore NHS Improvement’s request for a pause, Imran said:

“It is extremely concerning to see that Bradford Hospitals Trust has refused to listen to NHS Improvement and are continuing with their plans to establish a private subsidiary company, despite requests to pause. As NHS Improvement plans to issue new guidance, this is an extremely reckless decision by the Trust that has the potential to leave them in violation of the new rules, which will ultimately threaten staff and patients.”

“NHS Improvement is right to look at the issue of subsidiary companies and I hope that they will put in place in their new guidance much stronger rules that protect NHS staff and prevent Trusts from selling off to the private sector the companies that they established, and I hope that Bradford NHS Trust do the right thing and follow it, not continue with their provocation towards NHS staff.

“It makes sense for Bradford NHS Trust to pause their plans until new guidance is in place, but even more sense to cancel these plans altogether, and I urge the Trust’s management to work with staff and patient groups, and shelve their plans completely in the best interests of everyone.”

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