A list of NHS trusts with subsidiary companies was compiled by the Health Service Journal in February 2018. The information was collected from the companies’ annual reports, enquiries to the trusts and information provided by Unison.
In each case the HSJ tried to determine as much information about the company as possible, including how many staff had or would be transferred, what savings would be made and the company turnover. The related article can be found here.
Since the HSJ article was written, several subsidiaries have become active and in some cases trusts have abandoned plans to form a subsidiary. We have updated this list to reflect these changes.
At the end of September 2018, NHS Improvement ordered trusts to "pause any current plans to create new subsidiaries or change existing subsidiaries”. In October, NHSI opened up a month-long consultation on proposals over the approval and regulation process of wholly owned subsidiaries which would require NHS Trusts to submit a business case. In November 2018, NHSI announced that it would have to look over a business case for the formation of a subsidiary company and then decide whether to give approval; NHSI could stop a subsidiary company being formed if it thinks it is a risky plan.
Trusts that have transferred staff in the past three years
Gloucestershire Hospitals FT – Gloucestershire Hospitals Subsidiary Company Ltd (2017)
Airedale Foundation Trust – AGH Solutions Ltd (2017)
The trust's estates and procurement is run by AGH Solutions Ltd, which began operations 1 March 2018.
Birmingham Women and Children’s FT – BWC Management Services Limited (2017)
The company had 101 employees according to 2018 accounts and a turnover of £892,000 in that year. As well as facilities and estates management, BWC Management Services Ltd has been responsible for the design and construction of a new clinical facility - Waterfall House - and is now responsible for running this facility.
Harrogate District FT – Harrogate Healthcare Facilities Management Ltd (2017)
Around 300 staff were transferred to the subsidiary - Harrogate Healthcare Facilities Management - on 1 March 2018. These staff will be on a higher wage than NHS staff, but will have lower sick pay entitlements.
Central and North West London FT – Quality Trusted Solutions LLP (2017)
The trust set up Quality Trusted Solutions as a limited liability partnership in 2017. The organisation is wholly owned by the trust, but as well as working for the trust, teh organisation takes on work from others in the area of estate management and maintenance.
East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust - 2gether Support Solutions (2018)
In May 2018, the Trust announced that it was setting up a NHS-owned subsidiary company to employ around 1,100 staff. The vast majority, 850 cleaning, catering, switchboard and portering staff, are currently employed by Serco under contract with the Trust; Serco is due to leave the contract a year early.
The new subsidiary will also employ estates, procurement and facilities transferred from the Trust. The transfer of 850 staff took place in August 2018, with a further 250 NHS staff, who are responsible for maintenance of hospital buildings and grounds and include carpenters, joiners, plumbers, electricians and gardeners, took place 1 October 2018.
The company is a social enterprise company known as 2gether Support Solutions.
Calderdale and Huddersfield FT - Calderdale and Huddersfield Solutions Ltd (2018)
In August 2018, almost 400 facilities employees - porters, cleaners, gardeners, etc. - at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary were transferred to employment with the new wholly owned subsidiary, Calderdale and Huddersfield Solutions Ltd.
Yeovil District Hospital FT – Simply Serve Ltd (2018)
Around 360 support staff, including cleaners and porters, were transferred to Simply Serve on 1 February 2018.
City Hospitals Sunderland FT – City Hospitals Sunderland Independent Commercial Enterprises Limited (2017)
The subsidiary has a ten-year lease agreement with the trust. On 1 February 2017 the company acquired the leasehold of the three main hospital sites - Sunderland Royal Hospital, the Children's Centre and Sunderland Eye Infirmary, and it now provides services to the sites. The company also operates an independent outpatient pharmacy service at Sunderland Royal Hospital. In the year to March 2018, the company had a post-tax profit of £1.24 million. The company had 310 employees.
York Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust - York Teaching Hospitals Facilities Management LLP (2018)
York University Hospitals Trust set up a limited liability partnership that began operations in October 2018, known as York Teaching Hospitals Facilities Management LLP. The company now has around 710 staff, most transferred from the foundation trust.
Other trusts with active older estates subsidiaries
Northumbria Healthcare FT – Northumbria Healthcare Facilities Management Ltd (2012)
From 2017 to 2018 the number of employees rose from 140 to 546.
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear FT – NTW Solutions Ltd (2016)
This subsidiary was incorporated in 2016 and in the year to March 2019 had 532 staff, up from 518 in 2018. The company reported a profit before tax of £1.4 million for the 12 months to March 2019.
Gateshead Health FT– QE Facilities Ltd (2014)
This subsidiary reported a post-tax profit of £2.3 million in the year to March 2018 and employed 601 staff.
Bolton FT – Integrated Facilities Management Bolton Ltd (2016)
Incorporated in July 2016, Integrated Facilities Management Bolton Ltd employed 511 staff in 2018 in cleaning, maintenance, administration and portering.
Blackpool Teaching Hospitals FT – BFW Management Ltd (2016)
The subsidiary had 148 staff in 2018 and a turnover of £23.8 million.
Barnsley Hospital FT – Barnsley Facilities Services (2017)
Barnsley Facilities Services was incorporated in 2012, but staff were not transferred over until 2017. In the year to March 2018 the company had a turnover of almost £21 million and 132 employees.
King’s College Hospital FT – KCH Interventional Facilities Management LLP (2016)
The company is a limited liability partnership (LLP) set up in 2016 and owned by the trust and its subsidiary Kings Commercial Services Ltd. The LLP had 161 staff in 2018.
Salisbury FT – Salisbury Trading Limited (2013)
Salisbury Trading Ltd began operations in 2013 (but was incorporated in 2009) and for the year to March 2018 had a turnover of £5.8 million and 72 employees.
Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health FT – Summerhill Supplies Limited (2012)
In the year to March 2019, this subsidiary had a turnover of £13.6 million and had 129 staff.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ FT – Essentia Trading Ltd (2013)
Provides consultancy services on strategy and estate development and had 69 staff in the year to March 2019. The trust’s facilities and estates function, which includes around 1,500 staff, continues to be managed and operated in-house but also runs under the Essentia brand.
South Central Ambulance Service FT – South Central Fleet Services Ltd (2015)
Responsible for the delivery and maintenance of vehicles.
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre FT – Clatterbridge PropCare Services Ltd (2016)
Set up principally as a delivery vehicle for building projects and management of sites, including contracts with other NHS organisations that use them.
Hampshire Hospitals FT – Hampshire Hospitals Contract Services Limited (2013)
In the year to March 2018 had a turnover of £7.5 million and it had 5 employees.
University Hospitals Birmingham FT – UHB Facilities Ltd (2013)
The subsidiary provides fully managed renal hemodialysis healthcare facilities and corporate facilities building management services. The company has eight staff.
University Hospital Southampton FT – UHS Estates Limited (2016)
The subsidiary was set up to develop and then provide a fully managed estates service. It had no employees in 2018.
County Durham and Darlington FT - Synchronicity Care Ltd (2015)
Set up to provide estates management and procurement services under two 25 year agreements with the trust. In the year to March 2018, the company had a turnover of £25.2 million and profit of £332,000. It had a staff of 412 in 218.
Trusts considering an estates company and staff transfer
The following trusts were reported to be considering a subsidiary company, but details are unclear as to the scope of the company:
- Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust
- North Tees and Hartlepool FT
- Rotherham Foundation Trust
- Royal Free London FT
Trusts that have abandoned plans for subsidiary companies
Frimley Health Foundation Trust halts plans
In November 2019, plans for around 1,000 support staff at Frimley Health Foundation Trust’s three hospitals – Frimley Park, Heatherwood and Wexham Park – to be transferred out of the NHS into a new wholly-owned subsidiary (WOS) were halted by the threat of a planned coordinated 48-hour strike by all three major unions.
An agreement was secured over the weekend by UNISON, which represents the majority of porters, security guards, cleaners and catering staff employed by the Trust. The Trust gave a commitment not to continue with its existing plans while other options are pursued, including possible ways to keep the staff employed within the NHS. In view of this UNISON agreed to take no further action for the time being.
Bradford Teaching Hospitals FT - Bradford Healthcare Facilities Management Ltd
Around 300 staff are expected to transfer to the new company 1 October 2019. However, in July 2019, industrial action began against the move. Around 300 staff, including porters, security and catering staff, carried out a week of industrial action in July 2019 which was then followed by a two-week strike in August 2019. The transfer of staff was postponed until February 2020, then in November 2019 Mel Pickup, the new chief executive at Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, confirmed that the FT would not go ahead with plans to establish a subsidiary.
Wigan Wrightington Leigh FT: This foundation trust cancelled its plans to transfer more than 900 workers, including porters, cleaners and catering staff, into the wholly owned subsidiary, WWL Solutions. Staff had taken strike action over the plans, but Wigan Council has now offered the trust a one off payment of around £2m to cancel the plan.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust: This trust was reported to have scrapped plans to transfer staff to a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust: This trust was reported to have scrapped plans to transfer staff to a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Royal United Bath Hospital Trust: This trust was investigating setting up a subsidiary company that would be wholly owned by the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust to employ about 500 of its support staff such as porters, catering staff, administration staff and trades people. In this case the trust in Bath is reported to be currently engaging with staff over the plans. In March 2018, Unison reported that the idea was on hold.
North Bristol Trust: In January 2018, Southmead Hospital in Bristol part of North Bristol Trust announced that it was considering setting up a spin-off company to employ the non-clinical staff in the hospital trust in an effort to save money. However, following a campaign by the unions and other campaign groups, plus a backlash from the staff themselves, the trust has dropped the plans.