Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust has taken steps to protect its NHS laundry services and local staff employment by setting up its own new company to manage the on-site Laundry to compete against private providers.
Around 70 members of staff work in the Laundry, providing a linen service for Salisbury District Hospital and other NHS hospitals which is worth over £3 million to the Trust and this initiative helps to safeguard these jobs.
As part of the NHS the Laundry is not as efficient and productive as it could be in the face of growing competition from the private sector. As a private company, it will have more flexibility to respond quickly to large short notice tenders and raise additional money. It will also be able to advertise its services in a way that it is not currently possible within the NHS.
Peter Hill, Chief Executive said: “It’s essential that the NHS has a laundry service in the region, as this keeps costs down - benefitting Salisbury District Hospital and other NHS hospitals that do not have their own laundry services. If the laundry is not able to compete effectively with its commercial rivals, the danger is that we would lose a cost effective linen service within the region and a significant number of staff that rely on work here in Salisbury.”
“It’s important that laundry staff were fully aware of the situation and the options that are available to them and we specifically engaged with them on the proposals regarding the transfer to a new company and discussed the issues openly with them. This gave them the opportunity to talk through any concerns they may have had with us. This followed widespread consultation on general terms and conditions with all staff across the hospital as part of the national consultation on Agenda for Change.”
Existing laundry staff were given the opportunity to transfer to the new company under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations 2006). Under TUPE staff move to the new company on their existing contracts and terms and conditions of employment.
While new starters in the Laundry will have different terms and conditions and will not subscribe to the NHS pension scheme, they will still benefit from a company pension scheme which includes an employer contribution. The aim also is to ensure that terms and conditions provided by the new company are favourable when compared with other private providers of laundry services. The Trust recognised that some staff wanted to remain employed by the NHS and has worked with them to help them find suitable alternative roles within the Trust and is continuing to do so.
Laundry staff will continue to be able to enjoy the benefits of the hospital’s facilities at current staff prices such as the car parks, restaurants, day nursery and on-site accommodation.
Mr Hill added: “This is a major step which will have significant advantages for the NHS and our own laundry staff. It will ensure we are able to maintain the quality and improvements that are vital to the future success of the Laundry by giving it the flexibility to operate on a level playing field with the private sector.”
For further information please contact:
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.
Tel: 01722 425170