NHS staff moving to social enterprises risk losing the pay and conditions they have under the NHS, Amicus warned today.
The union said the need of social enterprises to bid competitively for healthcare contracts could lead to “erosion” of NHS staff numbers and conditions such as annual holidays.
The government has been pushing for more services such as healthcare to be provided by social enterprises – businesses that trade with a social purpose – but the union said the policy could affect “tens of thousands” of NHS staff.
In a new pamphlet, Amicus said: “The goodwill and commitment of staff to ensuring users receive good quality services should not be taken advantage of to pay low wages and reduce costs by lowering terms and conditions, and cutting training and resources.”
Last year, Central Surrey Health became the first major social enterprise to be established when East Elmbridge and Mid Surrey Primary Care Trust contracted out its community health provision to the company. All 650 nurses and therapists left the trust to sell back their services through the company in the face of opposition from 85% of staff belonging to a union, Amicus said.
Ivan Lewis announces new cash for social enterprise schemes