England

North East mental health trust scraps 'privatisation' plan

Rose berry Park Image copyright Google
Image caption The trust had considered which estates and facilities management services could be provided by the subsidiary

Plans to "privatise" some services at a mental health NHS trust have been scrapped after union criticism.

The Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust had intended to move non-clinical staff to a wholly-owned subsidiary company.

The Royal College of Nursing warned of a "two-tier workforce" and Unison called it "back-door privatisation".

The trust said it abandoned the plans because the costs "would outweigh the potential benefits".

Five hundred porters, cleaners and maintenance workers would have been affected by the plan.

Unions were concerned they would face changes to pay, annual leave, sick pay and pensions, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Porter Ivor Meek said he was "over the moon" the scheme had been ditched, while Unison described it as a "fantastic victory".

Regional Secretary Clare Williams said workers now had "the assurance that all parts of the service are valued equally, working as one team".

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