George Eliot Hospital has been saved from the clutches of the privateers thanks to a coalition of staff, patients, Unite activists and local community campaigners pressing to keep the hospital under public control.
Unite has embarked on a leverage strategy, announced by Unite general Secretary Len McCluskey some weeks ago, to save the NHS. The leverage strategy reveals what many may consider to be corruption and a plot by the Tories to wholesale privatise the NHS.
Significant improvements in clinical performance at George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust and a community campaign, in which Unite played a significant part, led the boards of George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust and the NHS Trust Development Authority ( TDA) to take the decision not to pursue the procurement process to identify a partner organisation.
Three organisations - South Warwickshire NHS Trust and two private companies, Circle and Care UK - were bidding to takeover George Eliot.
The George Eliot Hospital has made significant improvements as a result of the Keogh report and has shown how the NHS with the right support is the best way of turning round local hospitals.
The independence of the TDA has played a crucial role in deciding the future of the George Eliot Hospital. The TDA has listened to the concerns raised by Unite and the public, that further uncertainty over the future of the trust would not be in the interests of patients.
Unite regional secretary for the West Midlands Gerard Coyne said: “A coalition of staff, patients, Unite activists and local community campaigners have worked tirelessly to save George Eliot from the clutches of the privateers. The people of Nuneaton have cause to celebrate - not only will they keep their local hospital, but it is now providing a far safer service.
“Unite played a significant role in getting the voices of patients, health professionals and the public heard in this campaign. Only last week the union pressed its case with the TDA while community campaigners held a demonstration at its offices in London.”
Unite national officer Rachael Maskell said: “This outcome is of national significance and should be used as a model for turning around local hospitals which experience difficulties. Selling off the NHS to the private sector is not the answer. The NHS needs to come together and work together to stop the Tories privatising the NHS and putting profits before people.”
Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
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Notes for editors
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.