Fears as Lancashire hospital service privatised

Royal Preston Hospital
Royal Preston Hospital
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Campaigners have raised concerns over proposals to award a hospital contract to a private company.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust is proposing to award its sterilisation services contract to Synergy Health.

The staff are devastated, they don’t understand the reason for it, the unit has been running well and they have won an award for quality.

Peter Smith

Today the hospital trust said the move came after a review of the sterile services highlighted the need to provide value for money. They said the process had involved clinicians.

But campaigners and unions have raised fears over a private firm coming in.

Peter Smith, branch secretary for Unison, said: “We are extremely disappointed that the Trust has not consulted staff or the trade union representatives in the formative stage of this process.

“We are concerned about a private firm coming in in the first place. We do hope the Trust stops this process and comes back around the table to start this from the beginning

“The staff are devastated, they don’t understand the reason for it, the unit has been running well and they have won an award for quality.”

Steve Turner, from the Protect Chorley Hospital from Cuts and Privatisation Campaign, said: “We are pretty appalled that as a campaign group we didn’t know anything about this.”

Karen Partington, Chief Executive of the trust said: “This proposal to change how our sterile services are provided would at least maintain our current quality standards, and save money.

“We need to make significant cost savings every year to continue to deliver high quality services, and invest in future developments.

“We recognise that this is an unsettling time for sterile services staff, we will work with them and trade union representatives through the organisational change process.”

A spokesman for Synergy said terms and conditions of staff would be honoured.

He added: “If a contract is awarded, the Trust and Synergy will apply for a Directions Order to allow staff to remain NHS Pension Scheme members and I can confirm that it is the intent of the Trust and Synergy Health to jointly apply for such an Order.”