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GMB Welcome Brighton Decision On NHS

Friday, March 21, 2014

GMB Welcome Decision To Keep Sexual Health Services In Brighton And Hove Part Of NHS

We must ensure that public providers actively grasp this opportunity not only to seek to maintain the current provision but also to develop and deliver the new desired integrated service model says GMB.

GMB, the union for staff in the NHS, welcomes Brighton & Hove City Council Policy Resources Committees ratification of the recommendations that the current NHS sexual health services contract be extended with both current providers, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust (BSUH) and the Sussex Community Trust (SCT).

This recommendation is based on the opinion that the current public provider can make the required improvements to the service going forward.

This recommendation came after a campaign spearheaded by the GMB and members who work in this service along with Defend the NHS Sussex and Keep our NHS Public to keep this vital service in the public sector. See notes to editors for copy of GMB press release in September 2013.

Gary Palmer, GMB regional officer said “GMB stated from day one that we would not just sit back and accept this service falling into the hands of profiteers without a fight, and that it was in fact the current providers and importantly our members that would be best placed to provide Brighton and Hove with a more practical integrated sexual health service.

Its pleasing therefore for all involved to see that very idea being supported by the conclusions laid out by the Director of Public Health report stating that the negotiation of a new contract for sexual health services with the current service providers would be more efficient and cost effective than undertaking a competitive tender process, and that a competitive tender would not necessarily lead to any improvements in quality or price that could not potentially be achieved by negotiation.

Our concerns are that a competitive tender process is not being fully ruled out should it not be possible to negotiate a contract with current service providers. This must mean that the future focus for GMB and other stakeholders must now be in ensuring that BSUH do not repeat its inactivity and failure to negotiate and tender to fully retain services such as NHS Audiology at the hospital. We must ensure that it actively grasps this opportunity not only to seek to maintain the current provision but also to develop and deliver the new desired integrated service model.” 

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Contact: Gary Palmer, GMB Organiser on 07552165950 or Charles Harrity, GMB Senior Organiser on 07977518042 or Rob Macey, GMB Senior Organiser 07710 618 908 or  GMB Press Office on 07921 289880

Notes to editors

 GMB press release of September 2013

GMB CONCERN THAT SEXUAL HEALTH SERVICES IN BRIGHTON FACE PRIVATISATION.

Under the guise of claiming that integration of services will be more cost effective another part of the NHS is potentially going to be placed in the hands of private profiteers says GMB

GMB, the union for staff in the health service, has called for assurances that the continuation of Clinical Sexual Health services within Brighton and Hove will remain with NHS providers. This was after it was announced that both the Claude Nicol clinic for genito-urinary medicine (GUM) and Morley Street contraception and sexual health (CASH) clinics are to be integrated and put out to procurement through a public tendering process next year.

Gary Palmer, GMB Regional Organiser, said “Once again under the guise of claiming that integration of services will be more cost effective, another part of the NHS is potentially going to be placed in the hands of private profiteers.

The issue is that these private organisations will look to maximise profits and that through doing so will potentially threaten both the pay and terms & conditions of our members and staff, and see a reduction in the quality of the service they provide for the people of Brighton.

GMB has called for an immediate meeting with BSUH Chief Executive Matthew Kershaw on the proposed privatisation of clinical sexual health services at the Royal Sussex County Hospital. This is to discuss our concerns and to seek reassurance that the Trust are seeking to retain all sexual health services which they currently provide, and that services like HIV provision will be continued at BSUH regardless of any potential bidding outcome.

There are concern that HIV treatment which has been provided for by the Trust through the infrastructure provided by GUM clinics and if the contract were to be won by a new provider it might exclude the provision of HIV treatment services. The Trust, who has previously provided joined GUM and HIV treatment services, could find it’s no longer viable to continue to provide HIV treatment services independently from GUM. If this happens then there could of course be potential implications for HIV patients if their service had to be transferred to a new provider.

GMB will continue to monitor and challenge all actions of Mr Kershaw and the senior management team in this matter to ensure this city’s NHS hospital and its most valuable resource (staff) are not sold off, exploited or undervalued to line the pockets of private health profiteers.”

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