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Protect our staff and services, say South London Healthcare unions

5 July 2012 - 9:36am

Health secretary Andrew Lansley must step in to protect services and prevent staff redundancies at a London NHS hospital trust faced with administration, local unions including the CSP are requesting. 

The trust is running a £65 million deficit, with the private finance initiative understood to account for about £21 million of it.
In a letter last week to staff at South London Healthcare NHS Trust, the secretary of state said that ‘subject to the view of local NHS bodies’ he would be ‘appointing an administrator to run the trust in the short-term, and draw up a plan about what needs to be done in the future'.
He applauded staff for their ‘hard work’ in making improvements in patient services and said while there ‘may’ be change in the future ‘nothing immediate’ would change for staff or patients. Plans would be published and ‘consulted on openly’ over the next few months, Mr Lansley stated in the letter.
If the secretary of state does appoint an administrator, he will need to inform parliament. The last day before the summer recess is 12 July. 

Members’ jobs are top priority

The CSP’s senior negotiating officer Patt Taylor, who with other union representatives met with senior trust managers on Tuesday, said:
‘We have asked trust management for assurances over the future of staff and the crucial services they provide to the local community.
‘I will be working closely with staff side and our stewards and keeping our members informed. My top priority is protecting CSP members’ jobs.’

Call for guidance

The London trust’s crisis highlights the funding squeeze on the NHS but also the need for guidance on the ‘failure regime’ for trusts that the Department of Health has yet to publish, Ms Taylor added.
The CSP and other unions have been calling, through the England Social Partnership Forum, for safeguards on involving staff and union representatives to be written into the guidance. The CSP is now raising the issue again with the forum, comprising unions, employers and the Department of Health, as a matter of urgency. 
Local staff side unions are supporting a petition to underpin their request (see below).


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