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No To Service-Cutting St George's Deal

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wandsworth Councillors Call For Halt To Service-Cutting Deal With Private Firm At St George’s Hospital

Local residents must have their say before far-reaching decisions to reduce the quality of their NHS services are made says GMB.

Councillors in Wandsworth have called for proposed cuts to cleaning and patient catering services at St George’s Hospital to be suspended, following the NHS trust’s new deal with multi-billion-pound contractor Mitie.

In a letter to St George's NHS Trust's Chief Executive, Miles Scott, a group of Labour councillors raise concerns over the sweeping reductions to services, citing the “well-established link” between cuts to NHS services made by private contractors and “worse outcomes in terms of cleanliness and patient experience.” (See notes to editors for a copy of the councillors letter to the St George’s NHS trust).

The councillors also question the lack of consultation over the cuts, in particular the lack of consultation with GMB, the NHS union representing the workers affected.

GMB has raised concerns that the cuts to cleaning and catering services will result in a higher risk of infections and health problems for patients and NHS workers at the hospital. In March, a demo was held at St George's Hospital in protest against the reductions to services.

GMB has asked the Trust for a meeting but has so far had no response.

Martin Smith, GMB National Organiser, said, "This intervention from Wandsworth councillors demonstrates the huge impact that this deal could have on people living in the borough. Residents will likely see infection rates rise and the quality of NHS care could deteriorate at St George's Hospital, following this new cuts deal between St George's and Mitie.

These cuts to services must now be halted until proper consultations are held. Local residents must have their say before far-reaching decisions to reduce the quality of their NHS services are made."

Kieron Merrett, GMB Regional Organiser, said, "This multi-million deal between St George's NHS and Mitie to slash cleaning and catering services will be extremely dangerous for patients, NHS workers and visitors to St George's Hospital.

By privatising and now slashing these services, St George's NHS Trust has taken an irresponsible approach which could put lives and livelihoods at risk.

Now is the time for the Trust to act responsibly, and halt these cuts in order to consult with the workers and local residents affected by the changes."

End

Contact: Kieron Merrett on 07866 441 656, Martin Smith on 07974 251722 or GMB press office on 07970 863411 or 07739 182691

Notes to editors

1 Letter from Councillors Mark Thomas, Leonie Cooper, Simon Hogg, Rosena Allin-Khan and Jeremy Ambache to Miles Scott, Chief Executive of St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Dear Miles,

Cuts to cleaning and patient catering services

We are writing to express our concern at the service reductions being made, as part of your renewed deal with outsourcing contractor Mitie, to cleaning and patient catering at St George’s Hospital.

As we understand it, as part of the new contract with Mitie, the number of hours of cleaning and patient catering services have been cut. In addition, we have been informed that neither the hospital management, or Mitie themselves, have consulted with the GMB over these changes.

As you will be aware there is a well-established link between the reduction of staffing levels and resourcing under private contracts and worse outcomes in terms of cleanliness and patient experience. Similarly, a reduction in the number of hours for which the patient catering service is available, will inevitably means that the patients who use the service will have more limited access to it.

We ask that you provide us with a full explanation of the changes that have been made, and that the reduction in hours across both services is suspended pending a full process of consultation, involving staff, trade unions, patients and the public.

We look forward to receiving your response.

Yours sincerely,


Cllr Mark Thomas
Cllr Leonie Cooper
Cllr Simon Hogg
Cllr Rosena Allin-Khan
Cllr Jeremy Ambache

2 GMB press release dated Monday, March 21, 2016

GMB To Demonstrate On Thursday 24 March Against Risk To Patients At St George’s Hospital, Tooting, Following Sweeping Cuts To Services

Cuts to cleaning and patient catering services will lead to a greater threat of infection and health problems for patients at St George’s says GMB.

GMB, the union for staff in the health service, will hold a demonstration against sweeping cuts to cleaning and catering services at St George’s Hospital on Thursday, 24th March. (See notes to editors for previous GMB press releases about St George’s Hospital)

Outsourced cleaning and patient catering services, which have already been stretched in recent years, are to be reduced further following a new deal between St George’s NHS Trust and its private contractor, Mitie. The deal will leave wards with fewer hours of cleaning and patient catering service, putting patients at greater risk of infection and health problems.

GMB members and NHS campaigners will demonstrate on Thursday, 24th March between 12 and 2pm at the address as follows:

Blackshaw Road Entrance

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Blackshaw Road
Tooting
London
SW17 0QT

St George’s NHS Trust and Mitie held a series of meetings with workers last year to consult with them about the new deal, but failed to mention any reductions to services. The proposed cuts were announced this month without consultation with GMB, the NHS union representing the workers. The Trust and Mitie have declined to hold new consultation meetings following the announcement.

Kieron Merrett, GMB Regional Organiser, said: “NHS budgets are severely stretched, but St George’s NHS Trust must not be tempted to cut corners and put their patients at risk.

Sweeping cuts to cleaning and patient catering services will lead to a greater threat of infection and health problems for patients at St George’s.

St George’s NHS Trust failed to mention reductions to services when they consulted with catering and cleaning workers, and are now refusing to hold further meetings. They have taken a cowardly and irresponsible approach. Now is the time for the Trust to face up to its responsibilities, and sit down and discuss the proposals with GMB and the workers affected.”

End

3 GMB press release dated Tuesday 31 March 2015

GMB Concerns Over Patient Safety Arising From £10 million Emergency Cutbacks At St George’s Hospital In Tooting

Tory-Lib Dem Government failure to fund the NHS properly shows why it is vital the NHS remains at the top of the agenda as we approach the General Election says GMB

GMB, the union for healthcare staff, is expressing concern over patient safety at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, after its Chief Executive announced immediate emergency cutbacks.

Miles Scott the Chief Executive has announced that spending on staff cover and supplies will now be “strictly limited,” leading to fears that the hospital could be under-staffed and under-equipped over the coming year. See notes to editors for copy of his statement to staff.

Kieron Merrett, GMB Regional Organiser, said “St George’s, which was recently granted NHS Foundation Trust status, has found itself more than £10m in deficit for the current financial year.

This is a very worrying development for both patients and staff at St George’s.

The Trust was already due to make £43m of cuts in the next financial year in order to meet its Cost Improvement Plan. This £43m cuts package was already going to be a huge blow for South London’s NHS service.

Patients and staff will now be concerned about whether the hospital will be able to guarantee patient safety and maintain basic services in the next financial year.

This highlights the appalling impact that the Tory-Lib Dem Government failure to fund the NHS properly is having across the country. It shows why it is vital the NHS remains at the top of the agenda as we approach the General Election in May."

End

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