NHS Trust Urged to Keep Work In-House

Demo at Bury, 240414NHS staff, service users and local MPs will be watching with interest when the Pennine Acute Trust Board meet on Thursday.

The Board is due to decide whether to outsource the human resource (HR) function to Leeds-based private law firm Capsticks.

The privatisation plan has met with widespread opposition.  UNISON – the trade union for NHS staff, has organised a petition which has been signed by over 3,000 people, including MPs Michael Meacher (Oldham West & Royton), Jonathan Reynolds (Stalybridge & Hyde) and David Heyes (Ashton-under-Lyne), as well as Rochdale Council Leader Colin Lambert.

The Capsticks outsourcing option removes any access to HR advice or support to staff except for managers. 

Capsticks recently ran into controversy when they breached the Data Protection Act in a presentation to staff at Pennine Acute – a presentation that had been intended to reassure staff about the service they offer.  Capsticks divulged sensitive and personal data about staff at another hospital, and this incident has been reported by UNISON to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Angela Rayner, UNISON North West Regional Convenor said:

“Good quality employment advice for staff is important in ensuring good working relations in our NHS, and this would be lost if the service was privatised.  For example, if a nurse was due to go on maternity leave, they would no longer be able to talk this through with HR.”    

The Trust previously decided to keep the payroll function in-house, a decision welcomed by local anti-privatisation campaigners.

Angela Rayner continued:

“There is overwhelming local opposition to these plans.  It’s not right to invite private companies into our NHS to move jobs away from Greater Manchester and take profits out.  The Trust previously made the right decision to keep the payroll function in-house, we are hopeful that the Trust will again take the view that it is best to keep services within the NHS.” 

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