Leaked document reveals proposals by managers at Tolworth Hospital to put care out to tender

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Health managers are planning to privatise an NHS ward in London, the GMB has learned.

The union has seen a leaked document showing managers at South West London and St Georges Mental Health NHS Trust want to outsource to a private care provider the running of the ward at Tolworth Hospital used to care for elderly patients suffering from mental health problems.

The document makes clear that the running of Fuschias Ward is to be subject to a tendering process, with the private care provider looking to lease the ward from the NHS, and NHS staff to be TUPE transferred to the new private care provider.

GMB officer for NHS staff Gavin Davies said: “This is a blatant case of creeping privatisation in the NHS of a 20 bed elderly service continuing care ward meant for patients in Richmond and Kingston suffering from mental health problems. Currently seven beds are occupied with patients that are all elderly.

“We believe a deal has been done whereby they are planning to outsource this ward and once the patient number gets down to three or less the patients will be moved to an alternative location within the new care provider. In effect they want to an outside care provider to manage the deaths of these patients. How callous can you get?

“If they are allowed to get away with treating patients with elderly care needs in this way, then it will open the door for the continuation of downgrading our NHS services. We are calling for them to re-think this and come up with a fair and respectful outcome that treats patients and staff with the dignity and respect they deserve.

“What will happen to the ward in the medium term is not clear. It is quite likely that once the ward has been emptied of patients and there is no longer any more NHS overheads the likelihood is that the NHS Trust will re-absorb this ward for other things with a permanent loss of this ward for care of the elderly in the NHS in the two boroughs.

“This is an appalling way to outsource NHS staff and the procedure that has been followed goes completely against what TUPE requires.  GMB will oppose this privatising outsourcing all the way.”


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