A union says it will continue to fight for the future for hundreds of staff at Scarborough Hospital despite the trust taking the next step to move workers out of the NHS.
Earlier this month, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust registered a company, York Teaching Hospital Facilities Management LLP, to manage maintenance services at its sites, including Scarborough and Bridlington, in partnership with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust.
A total of 979 facilities and estates department staff, which includes cleaners, porters, and maintenance staff in Bridlington, Scarborough and York hospitals, could be affected as the trust is looking into setting up a limited liability company.
Staff are concerned that if they were to be contracted to the company they would lose out on their NHS terms and conditions such as holidays, pension and sick pay – with this also including around 220 employees in Scarborough and 120 in Bridlington.
Ray Gray, from Unison, told the Scarborough News that the move by the trust was “expected” but the fight was not over.
He said: “We warned our members that this may happen but it changes nothing from our point of view.
“We will be continuing to fight to ensure that our members keep all their NHS terms and conditions and their benefits.”
Terry Cunliffe, of Unite the Union, added the incorporation of the company had given staff the belief that “a decision had already been made before they have been consulted”.
The NHS is looking to move the staff to the LLP in order to make savings, with the trust running a deficit of also £15 million.
A spokesperson for York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s board of directors has approved the establishment of an alternative delivery model for estates and facilities, which will
remain wholly owned by the NHS. Staff and union representatives have been kept up to date with every step so far.
“The board considered the possible options and agreed to set up a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). One of the first steps in this process is to formally register the company, and this has now been done.
“The company needed to be established before we can begin formal consultation with all affected staff.
“The next step is to develop a detailed plan, which will include timeframes for this consultation.
“We will ensure that any staff moving to the new organisation will be able to keep their current NHS terms and conditions.
“The LLP will be wholly owned by the NHS, as staff have told us that this is important to them. In recognition of this, the company name will be York Teaching Hospital Facilities Management to mirror the name of the trust and to underline the importance of keeping estates and facilities staff as part of the NHS and part of the trust family.”