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NHS hospital staff to strike over ‘backdoor privatisation’

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust will see more than 300 hospital staff going on strike this week in a dispute over what has been described as the “backdoor privatisation” of the NHS.

Staff at the hospitals, including porters, cleaners and security staff, have voted to take industrial action over the plans of the NHS trust to set up a new company to run the facilities. As many as 600 NHS workers would lose many of the protections they have as NHS employees if the move goes ahead, according to the union, Unison, which views the move as creeping privatisation.

The strike is set to last seven days and was voted for by a ballot of 313 Unison members affected by the move, 97% of which voted for strike action.

The trust’s proposals centre on its estates, facilities and clinical engineering services and do not include the privatisation of clinical care. The trust has denied it is privatising services, noting that the new company will be “entirely owned and operated for and by the NHS”.

The trust’s hospitals include Bradford Royal infirmary and St Luke’s hospital.

Full story in The Guardian, 8 July 2019

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