NHS protest group slam ‘draconian cuts’ in Doncaster demonstration

An NHS protest group have protested over their fears that some jobs at Doncaster hospital’s trust may be outsourced.

Their demonstration, organised by the GMB union – which represents NHS workers – took place outside the Doncaster Royal Infirmary this morning.

Doncaster’s hospitals’ trust were expected to meet earlier today to discuss a feasibility study which, if put into practice, would mean services looked after by the trust would be transferred to a ‘wholly owned subsidiary’.

Steve Merriman, a spokesperson for the South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw NHS Action Group (SYBNAG) said: “The full range of NHS services currently provided in each major hospital will soon no longer be available. These draconian cuts will lead to patients having to travel long distances to be treated, sometimes even to a different county. Services currently being reviewed include A&E, Maternity, Gastroenterology and Stroke.

He also said there are a number of legal challenges pending to stop the outsourcing.

This comes after demonstrators from SYBNAG and Sheffield Save Our NHS ran a demonstration in Sheffield on Saturday, protesting the closure of the minor injuries unit at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, the closure of the Broad Lane walk-in centre, and the wider threat of NHS privatisation.

The GMB union believe that the Trust want to create a new company and run NHS services from it, so they can dodge paying VAT and opt out of national agreements on pay terms and conditions.

GMB NHS officer, Stacey Booth, said: “Wholly owned subsidiaries are bad for staff, bad for patients and bad for the NHS. While bosses keep saying there will be no changes to terms and conditions, where it’s happened elsewhere those promises given came to nothing.

“We’ve seen new staff paid less than existing ones, which puts everyone under pressure. It’s bad for new starters and bad for staff who know they can be replaced by cheaper workers.

“Employers might say ‘but the new company will still be owned by the NHS,’ then why do it in the first place?

“GMB Union is fighting against plans to privatise the NHS by the back door. We want to keep our NHS in the NHS and to ensure that staff pay, terms and conditions are protected.”