HUNDREDS of maintenance staff and cleaners working at Queen Alexandra Hospital are being transferred over to a new company, three months after their former employer Carillion collapsed.
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has worked with private finance initiative group Project Co to secure a replacement for construction company Carillion.
The private firm went into liquidation in January and employed about 700 staff at the hospital, providing services such as cleaning, site maintenance, car parking and pest control.
Company Engie will now provide these services at QA in Cosham, for three to six months, while a permanent contract with the company is secured.
Mark Cubbon, chief executive of Portsmouth Hospitals Trust, which runs QA Hospital, said: ‘Over the last few months we have worked closely with Project Co, which is responsible for the ongoing delivery of facilities management services, and have now secured an interim arrangement for facilities management with a company called Engie.
‘This arrangement will last for three to six months while all parties work towards the permanent engagement of Engie as the replacement service provider.
‘I am proud that, with the support of Project Co and the former Carillion staff, we have continued to operate business as usual, and patients and staff will have noticed little difference in the way we work.
‘All Carillion facilities management staff will transfer to Engie.
‘Those Carillion staff who are seconded from the trust on retention-of-employment will now be seconded to Engie, with no change to their employment or conditions.
‘I want to thank all of our staff again for their continued hard work and patient-focused care.’
Carillion had 20,000 UK employees and was used by a number of NHS trusts.
Public service union Unison said it would prefer to see the service nationalised but praised Engie’s approach.
James Smith from Unison south east said: ‘We would ideally like to see facilities management services return to public ownership rather than remain in the hands of private companies.
‘Nonetheless we have been reassured by Engie’s proactive approach to engaging with the union. The company held early and constructive meetings with Unison and other unions.
‘We have been given positive assurances on protecting staff pay, employment and terms and conditions.
‘Several benefits relating to length of service entitlements are expected to be retained which is also a positive development.
‘The trust management appear to have handled the collapse of Carillion in an effective and commendable manner, ensuring staff continued to receive payment and offering swift assurances of job security.’