Health workers lobby meeting as they call for NHS community services to stay in the public sector

GMB members lobbied the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group

GMB members lobbied the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group - Credit: Archant

HEALTH workers fearful that the private sector will cut jobs and services if it takes over NHS community services lobbied members of the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group before their meeting at Doddington Hospital on Tuesday.

Steve Sweeney, holding flag, and other GMB members talk to chairman of the Clinical Commissioning Gr

Steve Sweeney, holding flag, and other GMB members talk to chairman of the Clinical Commissioning Group, Maureen Donnelly. - Credit: Archant

GMB union members also handed out leaflets, spoke to hospital staff, and then used the public session of the meeting to voice their concerns.

The contract to provide up to £1billion worth of services - including children’s community nurses, health visitors, podiatry, part of Doddington Hospital and the special care baby unit at Hinchingbrooke Hospital - is up for grabs after Cambridgeshire Community Services Trust failed to gain Foundation Trust status, so will cease to exist in April 2014.

GMB regional orgaiser Steve Sweeney said: “ “Tendering up to £1billion of NHS contracts opens the door for the whole scale privatisation of NHS services across Cambridgeshire.

“The news that Serco plans to bid for the CCS Trust contract is worrying, When Serco took over the Suffolk contract in 2012, it almost immediately announced plans to cut posts, and the fear if that the same would happen here.

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“We are also concerned about our members’ terms and conditions when the private sector start running services. One of the things they do is cut jobs or hack into members’ terms and conditions, and that has a detrimental effect on the services being delivered.

“Some services would be under threat, those that are not profitable would face an uncertain future. The Clinical Commissioning Group should think very carefully before handing services to the private sector and we urge them to commit to keeping NHS services as publicly run, publicly funded and publicly owned bodies.”

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Mr Sweeney said services could be taken over by another NHS Trust, and the union welcomes proposals for Cambridgeshire County council to take some services back in house.

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