Further questions – December 2017

We have received some specific questions from members of the public, via pre-printed postcards. Our answers are below.

What economic circumstances have forced you to transfer so many loyal staff out of NHS employment?
Rising demand for NHS services costs us more money every year to manage, and means that we have to look at how best to organise our services to be as efficient as possible. By moving some of our services into a separate subsidiary company it means that the services in the subsidiary will be able to work together more efficiently, run their own budgets, make their own decisions and bid for contracts that they could not bid for if they were still part of the NHS. This will mean that they can develop the business and help to support our frontline services.

The company will be wholly owned by Airedale NHS Foundation Trust. Staff who transfer will retain their NHS Agenda For Change terms and conditions, continued access to the NHS pension and continued access to the same local staff benefits such as staff discount in the hospital restaurant, the opportunity to use the Nightingales Nursery at the hospital and employee health and wellbeing support.

Future staff will now be employed on inferior terms and conditions (future pensions) – what will be the economic impact on the local population?
The new company (AGH Solutions Ltd) is still in the process of developing terms and conditions for new staff and wants to do so through engagement with staff and the unions. The People Strategy sets out their ambition to be a good employer and employer of choice to attract local people to work for AGH Solutions and to support the local economy. We anticipate that there will be a positive impact for the local economy through new jobs and contracts.

How will the quality of care at AGH be improved by creating a divided workforce?
We don’t believe it will be a divided workforce. Trust staff and AGH Solutions staff will continue to work together as they do now, providing high quality services to our patients. As the Trust’s wholly-owned subsidiary the new company will still work to the Trust’s values, ethics and aspirations. The establishment of the subsidiary contributes to the Trust’s plans and sustainability of quality services for the local population.

Why can’t you change your mind?
We want to retain control of our own destiny and sustain services for the local population. We have considered a variety of business models and one of the key reasons the Board agreed to this wholly-owned model is to ensure that the Trust retains oversight of key decisions, such as those around staff conditions and service quality, and to ensure that the new subsidiary shares the Trust’s values, ethics and aspirations. This would not be possible if we had to look at alternative models, for example outsourcing these services.

More questions and answers about the new subsidiary, AGH Solutions Ltd, are available here.