Blackpool Victoria staff move will save Â£2.5m in tax
Around 180 members of staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital will be transferred over to a private company set up to save up to Â£2.5m a year in tax.
The plans, revealed by The Gazette in December, are nearing completion and the estate departments is expected to become a subsidiary company over the coming weeks.
The company, BFW Management Services Ltd, is being registered at Companies House, and a shadow board is already in place, it is understood. The move is expected to be finalised when the new financial year starts in April.
Concern had previously been raised by Labour MP Gordon Marsden and local union reps, who say they were not consulted enough and have yet to see the full details.
Staff, including the caretakers and engineers who look after the hospital, have been assured their pay and conditions will remain the same, and that their pensions will be protected.
Hospital finance boss Tim Bennett said: “Staff should not notice a real difference when this is up and running.
“It’s different, and it’s change, and people are understandably nervous about that.
“We don’t want to do this in such a way that it will create a lot of anxiety. There’s no need for that.”
Informal talks began with staff last June before the board was asked to move forward at a meeting in December.
A formal consultation was also due to be held.
The new private company will remain part of the NHS, with Mr Bennett saying workers will be protected under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations (TUPE).
The firm is expected to benefit from savings on VAT, and procurement could be cheaper because it would be on more of a commercial footing, it is understood.
Dion Baugh, regional organiser at Unison, said he had been looking for concrete assurances, and added: “Staff want to feel confident and comfortable that nothing is going to change.”