Unions say strike action may be needed if Harrogate Hospital continue with plans to transfer 300 staff to new subsidiary company

27 February 2018

As a protest to plans to the forcible transfer of 300 roles from Harrogate Hospital to a subsidiary company, a rally will be held outside the hospital this Thursday.

It will see representatives from UNISON, GMB and Unite along colleagues in RCN, staff, representatives from the local Labour Party and Save our NHS outside Harrogate Hospital between 12 and 2pm (1 March 2018)

In a ballot, Unison saw 90% of their members turnout with a 97% vote against the proposal.

97 per cent of Unison members back strikes over ‘back door privatisation’ of Harrogate District NHS Foundation Trust. Unions say that the change may force strike action.

The proposed company called Harrogate Healthcare Facilities Management (HHFM) would be separate from the hospital and it would be responsible for services such as catering, cleaning, security, and other non-medical roles.

Over 300 existing hospital staff would be transferred to the new subsidiary company, but would no longer be classed as NHS staff.

If staff members refuse to move to the new company then the hospital say they will take it as a resignation and the staff member will have to go.



Sarah Keig, Area Organiser for UNISON, said

The results of its indicative ballot were expected.

89 percent of our members turned out to vote and from that 97 per cent voted in favour of industrial action up to and including strike action.

We know staff are extremely angry by the proposal. They do not want to be transferred across to a private company where their contract’s terms and conditions could be affected. The Trust has already admitted that new members of staff will be on a higher rate of pay than existing staff members. This will create a two tier workforce and allow for attacks on staff’s terms and conditions.

If Harrogate District NHS Foundation Trust, continue with the company they would make £2 million worth of savings, all through tax avoidance, which would mean less money for other vital services. They would then look to make further savings through cuts to terms and conditions including pensions

Our members chose to work for the NHS and they have voted strongly against having that right taken away from them.


Harrogate Hospital


Robert Harrison, Chief Operating Officer at Harrogate and District NHS Trust, said:

While unions are currently balloting members, industrial action isn’t confirmed.

Like all NHS organisations, we have tried and tested plans to deal with a range of disruptions, including industrial action. This will ensure that we are well prepared and that high quality patient care remains our primary focus. We will continue to work with staff and unions in the hope that we can keep any disruption to patients to an absolute minimum.


1 Comment

  1. What sort of duffer-director can seriously claim this is anything but a fiddle to balance the books.
    Here’s an example from one Trust and their ludicrous reasons. The red bits are mine:

    Rising demand for NHS services costs us more and more money… to manage, (They confuse ‘costs’ with funding. Newco wont change that. It will shift costs and most likely increase them)
    … we have to look at how best to organise our services to be as efficient as possible. (NewCo will add a layer of governance, a management interface and increased operating costs)
    By moving some … services into a separate company it means [they]… will be able to work together more efficiently, (They can’t, now? Then they’re poorly managed)

    … run their own budgets (They run departmental budgets now),
    make their own decisions (the same managers will make the decisions they do now) …
    … bid for contracts that they could not bid for if they were… part of the NHS (There’s nothing to stop an FT bidding for contracts now. For NewCo, to successfully bid for a decent size contract, the Trust will have to offer a performance guarantee)…

    they can grow the business… help to support our frontline services… (Oh really! Over what time-frame?)
    I end this week with overwhelming admiration for what people are doing in the NHS and in absolute despair of what some people are trying to do to the NHS.

    With credit to Roy Lilley fo say it as it is

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