UNISON welcomes Harlow MP’s opposition to privatisation at Princess Alexandra Hospital

UNISON welcomes Harlow MP’s opposition to privatisation at Princess Alexandra Hospital

HARLOW MP Robert Halfon has written to Princess Alexandra Hospital today (Tuesday), urging it to “reconsider” contracting out its cleaning services.

The MP’s intervention came after UNISON representatives met him last week to explain their concerns over plans to privatise domestic services at the hospital.

Cleaners from the hospital warned that outsourcing would create a two-tier workforce at PAH, as new employees would likely be on worse pay and conditions than the staff transferred over from the NHS.

They also raised concerns about job security and worsening services if their jobs are privatised and recalled the brief privatisation of services in the 1990s, when Mediguard had to hand back the contract after just one year because of its failure.

PAH is currently ‘market testing’ the domestic services at the hospital, the first step in privatisating the service.

Conservative MP Mr Halfon wrote to PAH chief executive Lance McCarthy to express his opposition to the plans.

“It is a testament to the hard work of the NHS staff at the Princess Alexandra Hospital at every level that they have brought the hospital out of special measures last year,” he said in the letter.

“Although I understand that no decision has yet been made and market testing is currently being undertaken, I would urge you to reconsider contracting out services.”

UNISON welcomed his support.

UNISON regional organiser Caroline Hennessy said: “It’s great to have support from Harlow’s MP in our fight to protect jobs and services at PAH.

“Robert Halfon is speaking for the vast majority of people in Harlow, and the UK as a whole, when he raises these concerns about outsourcing our hospital services.

“Private companies come in to clean up for shareholders, not patients. They’ll cut corners to raise more cash, putting patients and the public at risk.

“PAH should heed the warning of its staff and the local MP and drop these dangerous plans.”

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3 Responses to "UNISON welcomes Harlow MP’s opposition to privatisation at Princess Alexandra Hospital"

  1. tony edwards   March 20, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Privatisation of the cleaning service at Princess Alexandra Hospital was tried in the 1990’s but failed as infection rates including MRSA and Cdiff went through the roof. The cleaning service then had to be brought back in house and wards had to be “deep cleaned”.

    The Trust can now boast that PAH are “one of the top performing Trusts in the country for their low rates of MRSA and low levels of infection”. This performance must not be put at risk.
    “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.

  2. durcant   March 20, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    There most be something seriously wrong at PAH for them to determine that they want to privatise a key group of dedicated workers.
    This important group are a key part of the central team that help to provide a clean and safe environment.
    We’re all part of one team.
    Clearly this is about reducing costs which throws into question any confidence the community would have with the CEO and executive members.
    If they privatise this group what else we be lost to a other private companies.
    These are the same people who claim they can deliver a new hospital and I would urge the trust board to reject any suggestion or recommendations to privatise this important service.
    This is on the shoulders of the CEO.
    Most workers are local and as one of the three local Labour councillors I fully support Unison and now the local MP.
    Thank you.

  3. Pytr Kropotkin   March 22, 2019 at 11:54 am

    So Halfon has arrived at the party, fashionably late, once again. Labour have been supporting opposition to this since it was announced.

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