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Unions welcome hospital cleaning move

PUBLISHED: 21:34 28 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:43 03 March 2010

UNION bosses have welcomed a decision to bring cleaning services at a Suffolk hospital back in-house after seven years of private contracts.

Bosses at Bury St Edmunds' West Suffolk Hospital announced the move yesterday and were immediately applauded by representatives of the public services union Unison.

UNION bosses have welcomed a decision to bring cleaning services at a Suffolk hospital back in-house after seven years of private contracts.

Bosses at Bury St Edmunds' West Suffolk Hospital announced the move and were immediately applauded by representatives of the public services union Unison.

The hospital faced criticism about cleaning standards over the last seven years, since the cleaning services were contracted out to private companies, but both hospital bosses and unions say the change will mark an improvement.

John Parkes, chief executive of the West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "This is a very important move. There has been recent criticism of some of our cleaning standards but managing and motivating our own staff will result in improved services through greater team working."

Mr Parkes added: "Because they have been under a separate management arrangement, housekeeping staff haven't been feeling that they are valued members of the trust's team, but this will now change."

The move, which comes into force at the end of the present contract, is part of the trust's strategy to improve services through more efficient management and communication.

The current contract with hospital services contractor Medirest will end next month, with the 150 staff transferring on their present terms of conditions of contract.

It will be the first time the hospital's housekeeping staff have been directly employed by the NHS Trust since 1995.

Tony Jones, regional Unison officer, said: "I am absolutely delighted that the staff in the housekeeping department have been given the opportunity to return to the West Suffolk family.

"Unison staff have only ever wanted to be directly employed by the trust and they were heartbroken at the change seven years ago.

"Trust chief executive John Parkes should be congratulated for taking on board the views of Unison," he said.

Mr Jones said the previous arrangement, which involved up to four private companies, was not "conducive to good team spirit".

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