Writing to Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust following meetings with staff trade unions and the Trust’s interim Chief Executive, Imran has slammed the Trust’s decision to ignore opposition and proceed with plans to create a private company to run vital services at the Trust’s hospitals without keeping the public informed.

Bradford NHS Trust first announced that they were pursuing plans to establish a ‘wholly owned subsidiary’ which would operate as a private company and run facilities and estates services at the Trust’s hospitals in Bradford in January 2018, and these plans were subsequently agreed to by the Trust’s Board in July 2018. However, following a campaign by Imran and a call by NHS Improvement to pause all plans to establish wholly-owned subsidiaries, Bradford NHS Trust agreed to put their plans on hold.

Following this decision to pause, the Trust then announced earlier this year that they would be restarting their plans to create the private company by submitting a business case to the regulatory body for NHS Trusts – NHS Improvement – for approval. Despite NHS Improvement failing to consult trade unions representing staff in Bradford’s hospitals who would be affected by the plans, violating assurances that their input would be integral to the assessment, and a failure by the Trust to make an un-redacted business case available to trade unions or Imran, NHS Improvement recently approved the Trust’s plans.

This decision to approve the plans has been branded as reckless and irresponsible by Imran as it also comes at a time of deep uncertainty and instability within the senior leadership team of Bradford NHS Trust, with only the recent appointment of a new Chair of the Trust, no permanent replacement for the Chief Executive position left vacant by Professor Clive Kay who left the Trust at the end of March, and no facilities manager at the Trust who would oversee the changes according to UNISON.

Bradford NHS Trust’s plans to continue also stand in contrast to other NHS Trusts in Yorkshire such as Hull and Rotherham who have cancelled their plans to create wholly-owned subsidiaries and private companies following opposition from staff and concerns over their implementation, which Imran cites as a further reason for Bradford NHS Trust to drop their plans.

Speaking on the plans of Bradford Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Imran said:

“I remain deeply concerned around Bradford NHS Trust’s plans to create a private company, and it is clear that the plans will harm staff and patients by undermining the high standards of employment rights and conditions that NHS staff deserve, and by delivering a service that cuts corners in order to cut costs. The decision to restart the plans is the wrong one, and the Trust must scrap them as other Trusts have done.

“I am also disturbed by NHS Improvement’s failure to robustly apply the tests they outlined in their framework when evaluating the Trust’s plans, by the fact the Trust has kept both the public and staff in the dark regarding their approval, and by the failure to share the financial information upon which they are based. The public has to put their faith in the services provided by the Trust, and by failing to keep them informed of these substantial changes, the Trust has neglected to treat them with the respect they deserve.

“This decision by the Trust to fragment NHS services and the willingness of NHS Improvement to allow them to do so is also yet another example of dangerous privatisation of our NHS by the backdoor. Privatisation has no place in our NHS – it runs contrary to the very principles and ideals of a public health service, and I will continue to fight for both staff and patients in keeping NHS services owned and operated by the NHS.”

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