PCT rejects staff ballot on social enterprise transfer

A Surrey PCT's decision not to hold a staff ballot over proposals to create a social enterprise 'rides roughshod over government policy', according to union Unite/CPHVA.

The union says Kingston PCT's plan to hive off NHS services into a social enterprise contravenes health secretary Andy Burnham's announcement that the NHS is the ‘preferred provider' for services.

Unite had asked managers at Kingston PCT to hold a ballot for staff about whether they backed transferring to a social enterprise but said this had been rejected.

Peter Storey, Unite regional officer, said: ‘The right to request a social enterprise was made by the management without any involvement of the staff or unions.

‘Mr Burnham has already said that the NHS is the preferred provider of choice. This means that outside providers, such as a social enterprise, can only be asked to tender if a trust is deemed to be failing and has not taken remedial measures. Kingston PCT is now riding roughshod over government policy.

‘Services in Kingston are not failing, so why are we dismantling the NHS?'

Siobhan Clarke, managing director of provider services at Kingston PCT, said: 'Everything we’ve done so far has been in partnership with staff and union representatives, and the department of health has made it clear it still fully support social enterprises, which are still NHS funded services.

'We’re already providing fantastic services and plan to carry on doing that, with even more involvement from staff and service users as they will become members of the organisation. This move is about the community deciding where public resources are spent.

'We’ve always factored VAT into our five-year financial modelling and business plan, which has shown that Your Healthcare will be a financially viable organisation. The VAT charges will be offset by the efficiencies across the rest of the organisation.'



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