NHS staff at an urgent treatment centre in Denmark Hill have been told by their employer – King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust that they will soon transfer to the private company Greenbrook Healthcare who are taking over the running of the centre on 4th October after winning a three-year contract worth £10million.
Staff are dismayed and upset according to trade union sources who say there has been “no proper consultation” or information with many staff finding out by text message.
In a letter sent to trust bosses and seen by HSJ, emergency nurse practitioners at the UTC criticised the planned takeover and described the apparent lack of communication as “dumbfounding”, prompting an apology from managers but the trust insisted that it is “consulting appropriately with staff”.
The staff will be transferred under the TUPE regulations but representing staff interests will be difficult. Jamie Brown, Unison head of health for London, told the HSJ “Staff employed in the unit don’t want to work for a private company, and many are leaving as a result.”. Whilst the RCN confirmed that Greenbrook Healthcare does not have a recognition agreement with any trade union and this transfer will “erode years of constructive joint working between management and trade unions.”
Greenbrook Healthcare runs nine urgent care centres and four walk-in centres in London/home counties, an Ealing GP practice, Greenwich GP Out of Hours Service and Hounslow Intermediate Community Response Service, but itself was acquired by the rapidly expanding health care company Totally plc in June 2019.
Totally plc, who reported revenues of £133m in their most recent accounts, provide a range of healthcare services in community settings, GP surgeries, and prisons. Its out-of-hospital services include physiotherapy, podiatry, dermatology, referral management services, clinical health coaching, and since October 2017, urgent care centres, out-of-hours GP services and 111 services. The company’s contracts are with both the NHS and private sector organisations.
The move could destabilize local services at a high-pressure time. London continues to have the worse nursing gaps in its workforce, with 8,938 nurse vacancies (June 2021) a rise of 8% from 8,270 in March 2021,
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