22 March 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust has announced that it will improve its estates, facilities and procurement services by setting up a new partnership to manage day-to-day running of these services.
The new Facilities Management Partnership will be a link formed between the trust (as the majority owner) with Trust Group Holdings Limited, the trust's pharmacy subsidiary company (as a minority owner).
It will remain within the control of the NHS and will offer an improvement in pay, terms and conditions for many of Leicester's Hospitals' lowest-paid FM staff.
The partnership would allow the hospitals to provide long-term investment in key services such as cleaning and maintenance, improving the environment for patients, staff and visitors.
Darryn Kerr, director of estates and facilities for Leicester's Hospitals, said: "This new model would enable us to invest more in the service, recruit more staff and create a real, visible difference in our hospitals. Wards would be cleaner, services would be more responsive and staff morale would be boosted.
"We recognise that there has been much change for staff in our estates and facilities team in the past few years, but we really believe that this new model would end that uncertainty. This is an NHS-owned partnership and will be a long-term commitment to cleaner, better maintained hospitals. For example in the first year of operating we plan to: offer an increase in salary to our lowest-paid facilities staff; spend around £2 million more on cleaning our hospitals; recruit more maintenance staff to improve our buildings."
It is not the first NHS trust to consider this new estates model. Other health trusts are already operating the model, and more are exploring the option. The Leicester trust is already running a similar model for its outpatient pharmacy services, which was set up a year ago.
The plans would affect about 1,700 staff out of the 15,000 that work for Leicester's Hospitals'. Of those, 200 of the lowest-paid will be offered a pay rise; the rest will remain on their existing terms and conditions.
Proposals for the new Facilities Management Partnership - which would be called the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Healthcare Facilities Management Services LLP - are due to be discussed by the trust board this week. If approved, the partnership is expected to be up and running by October, before which there will be extensive engagement with staff and other stakeholders.