Petition to halt services going overseas

Date published: 24 April 2014

OLDHAM MP Michael Meacher has joined NHS workers in signing a petition to stop privatisation plans, which is being handed to Pennine Acute Trust today.

Over 2,500 names are on the petition to stop plans that could see the trust’s payroll, pensions and HR functions outsourced to a French multinational company.

The petition calls on the trust to commit to core NHS principles that demand all services and functions should be provided by NHS organisations.

Joining MP Michael Meacher in signing were Colin Lambert, Rochdale council leader; Kate Green, the Stretford and Urmston MP; Jonathan Reynolds, Stalybridge and Hyde MP, and David Heyes, Failsworth and Ashton MP.

Kevin Lucas, regional organiser for NHS union, UNISON, said: “Private companies must not be allowed to place private profit before the needs of our NHS.”

If agreed by the trust board at the end of this month, the privatisation plans would see Shared Business Services (SBS) — a partnership between the Department of Health and Steria, a French-based multinational company - handle certain admin operations. Almost half of SBS’s workforce is based in India. Approval of the plan could mean job losses at the Royal Oldham Hospital and others in the trust group.

Nick Hayes, deputy director of human resources at Pennine Acute, said: “We have to make sure we are getting the best value for money, and if there are some support functions that can be provided to the same quality but more cheaply, we have to consider if we should take advantage of that.”