A demonstration against a plan by the NHS in Gloucestershire to set up a subsidiary company to avoid tax will be staged at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital tomorrow (Friday 16 February). 

Trades unions are spearheading the protest against the proposal by Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to create a wholly owned subsidiary company that will mean 750 staff in estates and sterile services being transferred out of the NHS. 

Unite, Unison and the Royal College of Nursing, along with the Gloucester and Cheltenham trades councils, will be holding a demonstration outside the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital GL1 3NN  tomorrow between 12:00 - 14:00. 

Unite has raised serious concerns that NHS trusts are forming wholly owned subsidiary companies so that they can register for VAT exemption and compete on a level playing field with commercial competitors who register for VAT exemption for their work in the NHS, when NHS trusts can’t. 

Unite has already warned that such subsidiaries could create a Pandora’s Box of dozens of Carillion-type meltdowns among NHS trusts in England. 
  
Unite regional officer Nick Bailey said: “These proposals are being sold to staff as an alternative to privatisation when, in fact, it is the same unpalatable dish. 

“About 750 staff will no longer be part of the NHS and face the same threats to their employment, and terms and conditions that other outsourced staff have already experienced. 

“Creating a two tier workforce will erode morale,  and exacerbate recruitment and retention issues that will affect the service provided in Gloucestershire and, ultimately, the public using the NHS.

“The trust board will be making a final decision on this proposal at the end of this month, following the two month consultation period. We are calling on them to listen to their staff -  800 of whom have already  signed a petition against this misguided and flawed plan. 

“The trust should follow the example of North Bristol NHS Trust which rejected a similar plan, following a public outcry.” 

Last month Unite wrote to the health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt calling for an immediate moratorium on further private limited companies being established by NHS trusts in England. 

ENDS 

Notes to editors: 

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065. Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.