Nursing staff at the new community hospital planned for Frenchay will not work for the NHS it has emerged, prompting claims from Labour councillors that Frenchay is being “part-privatised”.
At a meeting of South Gloucestershire Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday, bosses from North Bristol Trust (NBT) who currently run Frenchay said that they do not see themselves as running the new community hospital when it opens in 2014. Instead they intend to put the running of the hospital out to tender and confirmed that the successful bidder would also be expected to provide the nurses to look after the 68 patients undergoing rehabilitation that the new hospital will cater for.
Speaking after the meeting, Labour’s spokesperson on Health, Cllr Ian Scott (Labour, Filton), said;
“This revelation came completely out of the blue. I don’t think anyone ever expected that the new community hospital at Frenchay would not stay entirely within the NHS. It goes to show that the NHS is clearly not safe in the hands of a Tory government.”
Fellow councillor Andy Perkins (Labour, Woodstock), who is the Leader of the Labour Group on South Gloucestershire Council said that local Conservatives should be ashamed that their government is allowing this to happen:
“When the Bristol Health Service Plan was approved in 2005 and Southmead was chosen as the site for the new acute hospital for northern Bristol and South Gloucestershire, local Conservatives were highly critical of the Labour government for allowing it to happen. The Tories promised at local and national elections to save Frenchay hospital if they were ever elected to government but have since failed to live up to their promise. And now their hypocrisy has gone even further and they are allowing Frenchay to be part-privatised.”
Representatives from NBT at the meeting on Wednesday told councillors that the NHS would still be providing the doctors, therapists, staff operating diagnostic equipment and secretarial support but that the running of the new hospital and the nursing staff would all be provided by an external company.
NBT expects to sign a contract with the successful bidder at the end of 2012 and the new building is expected to be ready in the spring of 2014 at the same time as the new Southmead hospital opens.
More info: Progress Report on the Health and Social Care Centre for Frenchay [PDF, 127kB] presented to the meeting of South Gloucestershire Council’s Health Scrutiny Select Committee on Wednesday 14th September 2011.
Source: Labour Councillors on South Gloucestershire Council