Union criticises NHS trust for giving contract to private firm

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AN NHS trust that provides community and mental health services in Hampshire has awarded its cleaning contract to a private company.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust said in a bid to make services more efficient and save money, all of its cleaning will be done by firm Medirest.

Scott Jones, head of facilities and environment for the trust, said: ‘Medirest has held a contract with us for a number of years and our experience is that it has a high focus on quality, actively invests in making improvements in services and is very staff-focused, echoing the values we hold ourselves.

‘Following a tendering process, Southern Health is moving from five separate cleaning contracts to a single provider of cleaning services, due to conclude in August.

‘Current NHS staff have been moved to Medirest management as part of this process.

‘We have agreed with Medirest that staff who are moving to their employment from the NHS are protected through their current terms and conditions, however we are unable to afford the same conditions to any new staff.’

This move has been critisised by union Unison. Organiser Mike Wilson said: ‘This is a shameful decision.

‘It means the trust is saying the people who will clean their premises, including hospital wards, aren’t worth NHS pay. Unison calls on Southern Health to correct this injustice.’

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