Sodexho dumped by Glasgow hospital — Premier Campbell take note says HEU

News release

Victoria Infirmary brings health support staff back into the NHS

Glasgow's Victoria Infirmary has dumped multinational firm Sodexho and will be bringing the health support staff back into the National Health Service (NHS) in a move the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) says the Campbell Liberals and health authorities across B.C. should make note of. According to media reports published over the weekend, approximately 250 cooks, cleaners, porters and switchboard operators will be hired directly by the NHS by November 1.

“This news has particular relevance for B.C. where health authorities are currently exploring privatization and contracting out as ways of dealing with the Liberal government’s health cuts,” says spokesperson Zorica Bosancic. “The premier should pay attention because the lesson from Scotland is clear — in-house is better.”

The Glasgow Evening Times reported the Victoria Infirmary’s decision July 27, noting “Cleaning services at the south side hospital have been under the microscope since a series of health scares earlier this year.”

The Times article added that “workers at the Victoria [Infirmary] had criticized massive cuts in cleaning staff levels that dropped by more than half after services were given to Sodexho.”

Bosancic applauds the Scottish hospital’s move, saying decreased staffing levels plus lower wages and benefits for workers are all part of contracting out, but such practices may undermine the quality of services. “The Victoria Infirmary’s move to bring health support services back into the NHS is a good one,” says Bosancic. “B.C.’s health authorities can learn a valuable lesson from the Victoria’s experience.”

A poll conducted at the beginning of July indicates that the majority of British Columbians disapprove of health privatization and contracting out.

Sixty-eight per cent of the public think that paying health support workers as little as the minimum wage — which is the practice of corporations bidding on privatization tenders put out by Premier Campbell’s health authorities — will be bad for patient care in B.C. hospitals.

-30- Contact: Zorica Bosancic, assistant secretary-business manager, 604-880-9841 (cell) Margi Blamey, communications officer, 604-785-5324 (cell)