Petition over Harrogate Hospital's private company plans

Harrogate Hospital.
Harrogate Hospital.

A petition against plans by Harrogate District NHS Foundation Trust to set up a private company for some staff has attracted more than a 1,000 signatures in the first 48 hours.

Launched by the Harrogate and Knaresborough Labour Party, the online petition seeks to stop the proposals and follows a 97% vote by members of Unison trade union against the hospital's changes.

Harrogate Labour Party campaigner Paul Whitmore said: "These hard-working staff chose to work for the NHS, not a private company, and we should be supporting and thanking them for their work.
"Staff have been telling us how they wanted to work for the NHS, to be part of it and to contribute to its values."

The Trust's plans to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary to manage its estates and facilities would see the transfer of more than 300 NHS staff members such as porters, cleaners, maintenance staff and caterers.

Opponents are concerned the changes will create a two-tier workforce and allow for attacks on staff’s terms and conditions and will “open the backdoor to privatisation.”.
But Robert Harrison, Chief Operating Officer at HDFT said the hospital was liasing closely with staff and that current staff would retain their NHS terms and conditions on transfer to the new company.

More details on the hospital's case and opponents' fears here: