Petition calls on NHS trust to bring facilities management services back in-house

GMB Union and MP demand Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust brings outsourced soft facilities management services back in-house

The GMB union and Matt Pennycook, MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, have launched a petition calling on Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust to bring soft facilities management services back in-house.

Currently outsourced to private contractors, they claim there is ‘robust evidence’ to suggest that such a move would bring about financial savings and improve services.

We believe, particularly in light of the recent collapse of outsourcer, Carillion; that to continue to rely on private companies to run these essential services presents an unacceptable risk

The petition to the trust board states: “We the undersigned, call for the board of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust to bring privatised soft facilities contracts at both the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and Lewisham Hospital back in-house when the current contract expires later this year.”

At present, soft services are run by ISS at QEH and Interserve at Lewisham Hospital.

The petition states: “We believe, particularly in light of the recent collapse of outsourcer, Carillion; that to continue to rely on private companies to run these essential services presents an unacceptable risk. We also question whether the current contracts represent good value for money.

“The hard-working individuals currently employed by ISS and Interserve also deserve better.

“Under these two companies, the workforce has seen its pay held down and its terms and conditions cut to the bone to maintain company profit margins.

“The demoralisation of the workforce, combined with a sustained under-investment in equipment, has made it harder to deliver a first-rate service.

The demoralisation of the workforce, combined with a sustained under-investment in equipment, has made it harder to deliver a first-rate service

“We full appreciate that eight years of chronic under funding, and the burden of a substantial PFI debt, mean the trust is in a precarious financial position. However, we believe there is robust evidence to suggest that bringing soft facilities back in-house could result in an overall financial saving and improved service delivery.”

It gives examples of trusts who have successfully brought services back in-house. For example, Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) which brought cleaning services back under its control last year. The move has resulted in a marked improvement in service standards.

Lewisham and Greenwich Trust is currently in discussions with Meridian Hospital Company (The PFI company responsible for QEH) to end the soft facilities part of the PFI contract at QEH.

“Were this to transpire, there would be nothing preventing the trust from determining not to put the contract out to tender and bringing it back in-house instead,” the petition claims.

“We urge the board to do so, for the benefit of the workforce and the long-term sustainability of these essential services.”

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