Union is angry that private company gets it hands on community heath trust


UNISON has reacted angrily to news that Suffolk’s much respected community services will now be run by a private company, Serco.

This follows the announcement earlier today that the private company has been selected as the preferred bidder and will take over from existing NHS services, which provide specialist and community nursing, children’s services, speech and language therapy and other much valued community services.

UNISON Eastern region’s Head of Health Tracey Lambert, said: “It’s an extremely sad day for the people in Suffolk and NHS staff who’ll see their community service sold off in this way.

“The Trust has always been recognised for delivering good quality integrated services, there is no reason for it to be hived off.  Crucially Serco may have experience of managing hotel services for hospitals, but they do not have a proven track record in the provision of medical care.  We would be hard pressed to know what Serco could possibly add to existing patient care and services.

“There is no evidence to show that they will improve patient care or provide better health services. In fact the SHA is gambling with people’s health by awarding contract to company with no experience in running the full range of primary health services.

“This is an ideological move, purely to save money.  Yes, they will have a duty to provide patients with care when and where they need it, but let’s not forget this is a private profit driven organisation; its sole purpose is to make money for shareholders.  It’s inevitable that there will be cuts in order to ensure those shareholders’ pockets are being lined.

“With the government passing the much maligned Health and Social Care Bill earlier this week, this is likely to be a bitter taste of things to come.  This is taking the ‘National’ out of the NHS and putting tax payers’ money into individual pockets.

This contract is worth an estimated £140m. The question UNISON wants answered is just how much of that will be ploughed back into patient care and improving services and how much will go directly to Serco shareholders.”

Suffolk Community Healthcare Trust employs 1,000 staff who will have to be TUPD’d over from NHS Suffolk to Serco.

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