Join us this Saturday to give Bradford’s mad WOS plans the boot

Dewsbury and Leeds KONP are getting together to set up a Health Campaigns Together stall this Sat. 17th 11.30 – 1pm in Bradford City centre to urge people to support the NHS staff at Bradford Royal Infirmary resisting being transferred out of the NHS into a company which would ( for the moment !) be wholly owned by BRI (!)

We will have music fliers, placards and letters for people to send to the Hospital Board and Governors. Please join us if you can outside the entrance to the Broadway Shopping Centre off Well Lane near Holland and Barrett, close to the Cathedral and Kala Sangam Arts Centre, BD1 1UA

Our amazing NHS staff expect to be on indefinite strike from Bank Holiday Monday 26th Aug and plans are afoot for an HCT rally to support them outside the hospital at 12 noon on 26th.

Any support much appreciated. The strikers have been a beacon of solidarity, fighting spirit, warmth and optimism – it has been a tonic to join the picket line – but this will be their third time out and first with a commitment to indefinite action. Management want to impose a WOC from 1st October so time is getting thin to win. It is essential that the struggle is broadened, other trade unions get on board, MPs and councilors dig their heels in and the Bradford public start making a really big noise

Let’s give it some real welly !!

Bradford’s NHS staff belong in the NHS not tax dodging privateers

We fully support UNISON members on strike in Bradford against transfer into Wholly Owned Subsidiary, setting an example for the rest of the NHS workforce.Over 200 UNISON members at Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust (BTHFT) voted to take strike action (97% of those voting) after the Trust unveiled plans to set up a Wholly Owned Subsidiary Company (WOSC) – securing a 70% turnout. The Trust wants to transfer around 600 staff from its estates, facilities and clinical engineering departments into the new company, but denies it is privatising services. UNISON members want to stay employed within the NHS to ensure they retain NHS conditions of service – and remain part of the NHS ‘family’ and an integral part of the Bradford team.8th July was the first day of a week of strike action and saw around 150 UNISON pickets covering all four hospital entrances together with members of the public and supporters (including Leeds Keep Our NHS Public). There was a very clear message for management – those on strike fully intend to win this dispute and stay within the NHS. Huge numbers of public passers by and those visiting the hospital indicated their support for the UNISON members on the picket lines.Business cases for WOSC have largely depended on tax avoidance while blatantly disregarding the lip service usually paid by managers to the importance of team working and the positive benefits this has for patients. The Trust wants the new company, Bradford Healthcare Facilities Management Ltd (BHFML), to operate from 1 October 2019, and say this is essential for delivering efficiency savings. It anticipates that as BHFML grows, it will make an increasing profit and will be able to seek new business opportunities releasing cash from “tax efficiencies” ( Trust is at pains to argue that this is not privatisation: “the creation of a WOS company is not privatisation”. This claim must be rejected not least on the basis of the widely accepted typology of privatisation (see: Peedell C. BMJ 2011;342:d2996 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d2996) which encompasses the following:
(a) divestiture or outright sale of public sector assets in which the state divests itself of public assets to private owners
(b) franchising or contracting out to private, for profit, or not for profit providers
(c) self management, wherein providers are given autonomy to generate and spend resources
(d) market liberalisation or deregulation to actively promote growth of the private health sector through various incentive mechanisms
(e) withdrawal from state provision, wherein the private sector grows rapidly as a result of the failure on the part of the government to meet the healthcare demands of the people
It is clear from the above that setting up a WOSC falls into category c. UNISON members in Bradford are united in their opposition to these plans and deserve the support of NHS campaigners and the wider public.John PuntisFrom BRI WebsiteA new wholly-owned subsidiary at Bradford Teaching HospitalsUNISON members in Estates and Facilities at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are taking industrial action over the establishment of a wholly owned subsidiary company for Estates, Facilities and Clinical Engineering services.
This industrial action will take place from 6am on Monday, 8 July, to 6am on Monday, 15 July. This will affect all the Trust’s hospitals, including Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital.Arrangements have been made to ensure that patient safety and levels of care are not compromised by this action and all essential services, such as emergency and urgent surgery, will continue as normal. Patients should attend their routine clinics and appointments as normal unless notified otherwise.There will be picket lines outside the entrances to the Trust’s hospitals and we expect that pickets will behave in a responsible way; they will not be allowed to obstruct or intimidate patients and visitors and you will be able to gain admission to all our hospitals as normal.Similarly patients and visitors coming into our hospitals, crossing picket lines will also be expected to behave respectfully and refrain from using threatening or abusive behaviour towards the pickets. Drivers coming into hospital premises on the days of the industrial action are asked to exercise extra due care and attention when approaching or driving past/through a picket line and should not drive in a manner which could put people at risk or cause injury.Development of a wholly owned subsidiary company for Estates, Facilities and Clinical Engineering services and why we are doing thisBradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is setting up a wholly owned subsidiary company (WOS) for our Estates, Facilities and Clinical Engineering services, which will be entirely owned by the Trust. The new company, Bradford Healthcare Facilities Management Ltd (BHFML), will operate from 1 October 2019.
Every year the Trust has to deliver efficiency savings – about 4% of turnover (roughly £16m) in the current year. The Trust must take all steps to protect frontline services and provide safe and effective patient care.If we do nothing, and as we make year on year efficiencies, it will be increasingly difficult for our support services to continue as they are now, which will likely impact directly on patient care. Rather than wait for the inevitable contraction and decline, we want to use our scale and expertise to build up the business and win additional work to reinforce the core NHS support service.As BHFML grows, and makes an increasing profit, the level of reinvestment will also increase, which will further improve its operational and financial strength and help ensure sustainability for these services.BHFML will be able to seek new business opportunities on a level playing field with other commercial companies, as its tax arrangements will be the same. Cash released from tax efficiencies will allow us to reinvest in patient care, the hospital estate and BHFML staff development.The creation of a WOS company is not privatisation. The Trust Board has explicitly decided against outsourcing our Estates, Facilities and Clinical Engineering services because we believe we wouldn’t be able to retain the same level of influence over the quality of the service, or guarantee protection for staff terms and conditions in the long-term. Furthermore, we want these services to continue to work to the core Trust values and be part of the NHS family.Once we set the company up, staff will keep their NHS identity and be employed directly by an NHS-owned company – BHFML. The Trust Board is clear that setting up the new company is the only model which allows us to protect around 600 members of staff and protect patient care.
What will happen to staff terms and conditions, and the NHS identity?
Following a period of engagement with staff and trade unions, we are now in the TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings – Protection of Employment) consultation phase ahead of the transfer of staff to BHFML on 1 October 2019.
As part of TUPE legislation all affected staff will have their terms and conditions protected. In addition, the Trust’s Board has guaranteed to protect their terms and conditions for as long as the new company has the contract with the Trust, which is 25 years.
We have also had a guarantee from NHS Business Services Authority that existing staff will continue to have access to the NHS Pension scheme. We will protect terms and conditions if staff get promoted, or increase or reduce their hours, and we will look to match the annual NHS pay awards.
We have listened to concerns from our staff and union colleagues and agree that we should not have a two-tier workforce. That’s why we have also taken an additional step, going above and beyond what any subsidiary company in the region is doing, by offering terms and conditions for new starters that are comparable to the national NHS Agenda for Change terms and conditions that existing staff will transfer on.
Staff who work in Estates and Facilities as part of the Staff Bank (the Trust’s temporary staff register) will have the same opportunity to work for BHFML as they do now and on the same rates of pay as now.
And in the highly unlikely situation that BHFML fails or the contract is ended sooner than the 25 year period, all services will transfer back to the Trust; and this will be built into the legal contract documents between the Trust and BHFML.
BHFML will have access to the Trust’s payroll, IT services, HR, parking permits, lease car scheme, childcare services, training courses, and health and wellbeing services.
Our people, our future
Within Estates, Facilities and Clinical Engineering services we have a highly skilled, knowledgeable and motivated team of staff who do an excellent job.
Over the years these teams have innovated, adapted to new demands and kept delivering high quality services day in, day out, but with increasing financial challenges in the NHS it is getting harder to maximise quality and value for money without significant change.
We want to sustain and develop these services for future years: that’s why it is essential for us to develop BHFML and grow the business so it becomes more sustainable, successful and secure for everyone who works there.
The Trust will hand over decision-making to the new company so it can decide how to develop its staff, and have a commercial strategy to focus on growing the business, such as in GP practices and local schools, in addition to its main NHS contract.
But the Board of Bradford Teaching Hospitals will be able to ‘reserve’ some decision-making rights so that the company must always seek agreement of the Trust Board on these matters. This is one of the key safeguards we can put in place to address concerns that those who work in the new company will be at more risk than if they had stayed directly employed by the Trust.
BHFML will be better placed to work with small and medium-sized businesses locally which are not usually able to work with the NHS due to their size. By growing the business it will also mean we can provide additional employment, training and development for local people.
We have every confidence that BHFML will be a successful organisation that values its staff and supports both patient care and our local economy.