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Protest to take place opposing new subsidiary company set up by Chesterfield Royal Hospital

A protest will be staged at Chesterfield Royal Hospital this afternoon, with trade unionists opposed to a new subsidiary company being set up there.

The trust is set to transfer 700 workers over to the new firm- which will still be owned and managed by the hospital.

But Chesterfield TUC chair James Eaden doesn't think it's fair on staff or patients: "Outsourcing leads to worse quality, worse pay and a general dumbing down of conditions.

"So we need a properly funded NHS with staff who are in the NHS on decent pay and conditions who can provide the service to people that we need."

He added: "They drive people out of the NHS, they introduce worse terms and conditions, worse pay, they're not going to be able to have the dedicated NHS staff  that provide these services and I think it is a disaster for patient care as well as for the staff involved."

Ahead of the transfer, the Royal’s Director of Finance & Contracting, Lee Outhwaite said: “Last July the Board’s directors described the decision to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary as ‘one of the most difficult decisions we’ve had to make in our 15 years as an NHS Foundation Trust’.

"Creating an independent company was a really tough strategic move, necessitated by the current NHS climate, although adapting how the Trust works will preserve key services.

“The subsidiary will be able to operate in a dynamic and beneficial way, running healthcare facilities and support services on a more commercial footing - to best practice quality standards, in a cost effective way; and giving the public value for the money they put into the NHS.

"Whilst essentially independent, DSFS will remain firmly within the Chesterfield Royal Hospital ‘family’, with the same ethos, values and principles. Overall the subsidiary will remain committed to providing our patients and colleagues with first-class support services.”

“After a period of some uncertainty all of us now look forward to making DSFS a real success that we can all be proud of.”

The demonstration is set to take place outside the hospital at 1pm today. 

Commenting on planned protests by members of the community, a Trust spokesperson said:

 “We appreciate that for many people the creation of a subsidiary company within the NHS is unpalatable.  Our Board of Directors made this difficult decision in July 2018, believing that it is the best way to safeguarding a range of valuable and essential services.  In a challenging NHS climate the company is set to protect jobs from the risk of third party outsourcing, reduced staffing numbers and even potential redundancies.  The Trust is transferring staff to DSFS under TUPE regulations and with their NHS terms and conditions protected for 25 years – the length of the subsidiary’s initial contract.”

 “We absolutely recognise the right of anyone to have their say about the subsidiary, which is why we have involved staff, unions representatives and all our stakeholders in the process since May last year.  We would ask anyone planning to come and protest on site tomorrow to think about colleagues coming in to work and people arriving for appointments and treatment.  

“We are sure that any member of the public that wants to make a statement in this way will do so respectfully, making sure that our staff, patients and visitors can access the building without any disruption – and we are happy to accommodate them on that basis.”

 

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