21 December 2012 – Laundry decision made by board
Airedale NHS Foundation Trust has confirmed its decision regarding the future of laundry services at Airedale Hospital, following the board of director’s meeting yesterday (Thursday 20 December).
Following lengthy questioning and discussion the report’s recommendation, for a partial outsource option, was approved by the board. With this option, some staff will remain on site at Airedale Hospital to receive and distribute laundry across the hospital’s wards and departments as well as deliver laundry to community sites, such as Skipton Hospital.
Christine Miles, director of operations at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, says: “Our top priority throughout this process has been our patients and our staff. We will do everything possible to minimise the impact on our staff and we are working hard to make sure that staff who want to remain in work at Airedale can do so.
“We will support all those affected to either secure jobs under the new laundry service arrangements, explore alternative employment opportunities here at the Foundation trust or in one of our neighbouring providers, or consider voluntary redundancy, as appropriate.”
The partial outsource involves an external provider collecting, processing, and returning linen to the hospital, as well as providing some linen on a hire basis.
Whilst Airedale will outsource the washing, drying and ironing element for linen, it will continue to clean cloths, mops and patient clothing and provide a sewing room for repairs, labelling uniforms and making and altering clothes for prosthesis patients.
Christine Miles, adds: “Yesterday we held meetings with our laundry staff and trade unions to give them the chance to hear as soon as possible, what this decision will mean for them and their colleagues.
“Whilst we have been talking to staff about the options since the review began in April this year, and they have been part of the process throughout, we recognise that this is still a very difficult time for those staff directly affected.
“I would like to thank everyone involved, but particularly our laundry staff, staff side and union representatives, for the professional manner in which they have approached this challenging situation.”
The laundry review was announced earlier this year and is due to the major investment needed to ensure sustainability of the laundry service to the hospital and its community customers. Laundry facilities have been in operation at Airedale since the hospital opened in 1970.