Activists rally to fight key PFI project

Submitted by martin on 27 May, 2002 - 3:42

The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust has announced the details of a major PFI project. They intend to move workers in seventeen staff groups into the private sector (some are already contracted out, others currently are employed by the NHS) and are making a decision on June 6th at a Trust Board meeting.
Whether by design of the Trust, or of certain UNISON individuals, or by accident, UNISON activists in the hospital have only found out about this today, 27 May. UNISON is, in principle, represented on the working parties and so on, but the regional full time official and the lay member most involved have said nothing about any of this until yesterday when the regional official told the branch secretary that he was doing press interviews on the topic today.

This presents a huge challenge to the UNISON branch activists. They urgently need help - other activists coming to Leicester to work on the campaign. Can you do that? Email if you can.

-----Forwarded Message-----

Subject: Trust's Statement to Staff on PFI Date: 26 May 2002 23:03:32 +0100

The Pathway Project is UHL's £286 million rebuild and refurbishment programme for the three hospital sites.
Government guidelines state that a scheme this size must be tested for Private Finance Initiative (PFI) potential. The project team are currently putting a package together that will be used to advertise for a private consortium to work with the Trust to rebuild and service the hospitals. The Trust is required to follow government guidelines that require a number of non-clinical services to be included in the package, which will mean some members of UHL staff will transfer to the private sector.

The Pathway Project Board have created a list of recommended services to be included in the package for Trust Board to consider on 6th June 2002.

What will happen to the staff involved?

The staff that are involved in the services being considered have all been invited to meetings to discuss what this means for them, and explain the next steps in the process. In addition, special sessions are being set up to discuss terms and conditions and pensions. Regular newsletters will continue to update the staff affected.

In all schemes involving PFI, staff's current contractual terms and conditions are protected by the government's TUPE regulations. In some cases, staff that currently work for a contractor may get the opportunity to return to NHS employment but be managed by the private sector. This is following a recent agreement between the government and UNISON.

How were the recommendations made?

The Trust evaluated each of the 25 services against 9 main criteria and against NHS guidance and best practice for other schemes like UHL's. Each service has been scrutinised to develop what the service may look like over the lifetime of the Pathway project.
These results, alongside the 9 criteria, created a score for each service that in turn was used to make the final recommendations.

When will this happen?

The Trust is planning to appoint a consortium of companies to build and service the new hospitals for UHL from 2004/5. It is anticipated that staff transfers will begin in 2005.

A final decision will be made at the next Trust Board meeting on 6th June 2002. Staff are welcome to attend Trust Board which will start at 1.00pm in Seminar rooms 2&3, Clinical Education Centre, Glenfield Hospital.

Services recommended to Trust Board for inclusion:

Estates Management
Car Parking
Grounds and Gardens
Retail Facilities
Post Room
Linen and Laundry
Receipts and Distribution
Print Room

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