Luton and Dunstable FT management have clearly learned nothing from the five years of erratic services they have had from private contractors Engie since they decided to put cleaning and catering services out to tender.

Services which had been consistently rated at 99% when delivered in-house have since 2015 required repeated trust intervention and “remedial” action.

Trust bosses have already made clear they don’t want to extend the Engie contract, but with the contract due to expire later this year they have also ruled out the obvious  option of bringing the services back in-house, claiming this would increase costs.

Instead they are proposing to invite bids for a ten year contract to deliver an  increased range of services for a pathetically low £55m per year – while Engie managers have told the unions the realistic cost would be more like £80m.

UNISON and GMB have launched a determined campaign to force the trust to change course and bring services back in-house.

A lively meeting on January 30 kicked off the campaign, publishing a report Quality Pays by Lowdown co-editor John Lister, making the case for bringing the outsourced services back in house.

A board outside the hospital proclaims the trust’s commitment to “clinical excellence, quality and safety.”

Will the trust dump these values for short term savings?

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