26 November 2019 | Marino Donati
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has scrapped plans to set up an FM company.
Earlier this year, Bradford NHS trust announced plans to transfer hundreds of staff including porters, cleaners, security staff and others into a new wholly owned subsidiary company.
But last month the trust delayed setting up the company after more than 300 porters, domestics, security and catering staff at the trust went on strike for three weeks over the summer in opposition to plans to outsource their jobs and transfer them to a private company.
Now the trust has decided not to go ahead with setting up the new FM company.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis welcomed the news and said that splitting workers within the same trust between different employers made no sense and added further complications to patient care.
"It is time for NHS Improvement to stop trusts going ahead with these projects without staff support," said Prentis. "This case sends a strong signal that the practice of creating subsidiary companies should be brought to an end completely."
Chief executive of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Mel Pickup, said that the trust's board had held constructive talks with Unison to explore alternative service models.
"The board, which has at its heart the need to provide high-quality, safe patient care, has decided not to continue with plans to create a new company," said Pickup.
"All staff employed within estates, facilities and clinical engineering will remain directly employed by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and not transfer to Bradford Healthcare Facilities Management Ltd. The new company will not be established."
She added: "We have listened to staff who were affected by the change and heard their concerns. And we were not prepared to compromise on patient safety by risking further industrial action over the winter period."
However, Pickup said that the trust still faced significant financial challenges.
"The reasons for seeking to set up the new company have not changed and we now must work together with staff and Unison to find alternative ways to make productivity gains within these important support services."
"Our aim remains making the services outstanding and providing a secure future for everyone who works within them."