05:36PM, Friday 19 July 2019
Protesters accused the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust of ‘creeping towards privatisation’ during a demonstration today.
The trust, which runs Wexham Park Hospital and Ascot’s Heatherwood Hospital, is planning to set up a wholly owned subsidiary company to run some of its non-clinical support services.
The move would see staff in roles including housekeeping, security, and portering transferred to a new company, owned 100 per cent by the trust.
But protesters hit out at the plans, raising fears that the switch would create a ‘two-tier workforce’, with workers operating under separate terms and conditions to the NHS.
Liam Kenny, area organiser for trade union UNISON, said: “Frimley has been a flagship trust and part of the reason for that is because they have kept all of these services in-house.
“These staff will no longer work for the NHS, their priority will be the company.”
Hospital staff, UNISON members and representatives from the Slough Trades Council were among the protesters with chants of ‘no ifs, no buts, don’t privatise us’ ringing out.
Slough MP Tan Dhesi, who attended the demonstration, added: “The concept of wholly owned subsidiaries is something which is extremely concerning as what it will in effect mean is there will be a two or three tier workforce.
“In future, rather than everyone being on NHS terms and conditions, new individuals will not be on those same terms and conditions and that’s just a gradual route to privatisation.”
A spokesman for the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “If it is established, it would not be privatisation as the company would be 100 per cent owned by FHFT and a long-term service contract would be agreed.
“Staff transferred to the new organisation will still be highly valued members of the Frimley Health family and are essential to the continued delivery of great patient care.”
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