Campaigners celebrate further setbacks to privatisation plans on NHS 70th birthday

Campaigners had a big reason to be cheerful at the events marking 70th anniversary of the NHS in Leeds, as the Trust at Leeds Teaching Hospitals had announced that they “will not be transferring any staff into a Wholly-owned Subsidiary during the financial year to March 2019.”

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

This is now the second time the trust have delayed making a decision on establishing a Wholly-owned subsidiary, following their earlier decision at a special meeting this March to have further consultations. That consultation has seen staff opposition, including a Unison strike ballot that failed to reach the Tories new 50% threshold, but showed strong opposition with 90% of those who voted balloting for strike action, and where a re-balloting of certain sections of staff would have been likely. Unite were also preparing for a strike ballot.

Socialist Party members have collected thousands of signatures opposing the establishment of a Wholly-owned subsidiary in Leeds, as well as taking the campaign of opposition into the wider trade union movement.

But a further consideration in the trust board’s calculations, is that, like Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust, it is not a Foundation Trust and therefore has to seek permission from the government to set up a Wholly-owned subsidiary. With no timetable for this at present, then the trust’s decisions also represents an attempt to ‘kick the can down the road’.

John Ingleson, Chair of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Unison branch said “We know there will be many more challenges in the future and we will not be taking our eyes of the ball, but for now the branch is breathing a sigh of relief and sending out a huge thank you to all members involved in raising these concerns , and also the good people at Keep Our NHS Public and Leeds TUC who helped raised the public profile of the campaign”

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