Scotland puts an end to service privatization in hospitals

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The Scottish government announced Monday that it will halt and reverse the privatization of all housekeeping and food services in the country’s hospitals, over the next three years.

In a nationwide letter to their hospital chief executives, the Scottish government wrote, “The provision of... services such as cleaning and catering play a key role in the delivery of clinical services... The Scottish government believes that NHS Scotland should therefore be responsible for the direct delivery of these services wherever possible.”

The announcement follows a call by Britain’s Royal College of Nursing in April for cleaning services to be brought back in-house and for the end of outsourcing. Nurses and others have raised concerns about a drop in housekeeping standards and a rise in infections, connected to privatization.

HEU’s secretary-business manager Judy Darcy applauds the decision.

“Here at home, our members who work in housekeeping and food services know how hard it is to provide high-quality services under the unacceptable wages and working conditions provided by these private contractors,” says Darcy.

“That’s why we’ve called on health authorities to take responsibility for what’s happening in their facilities and to ensure that companies like Sodexo, Aramark and Compass provide living wages and safe working conditions for all workers.”

Add your voice to HEU’s campaign for a living wage and safe working conditions.