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13 February 2019, 09:12 | Updated: 13 February 2019, 09:15
A union says it's 'breathtaking' that private companies are being invited to run cleaning services at Harlow's Princess Alexandra Hospital.
UNISON believes the move means new cleaners are likely to be employed on worse conditions.
The hospital is expected to appoint a private contractor by July.
UNISON Eastern regional organiser Caroline Hennessy said: "It's breathtaking that PAH is threatening to outsource its hardworking cleaners while contracting giant Interserve is scrambling around for a rescue deal and so soon after the first anniversary of Carillion's collapse.
"Private contractors have shown they can't be relied on to run our public services, but bosses at PAH are either not paying attention or they think it's OK to gamble with patients' safety to save a few quid.
"Patients shouldn't be exposed to unsafe hygiene levels because a private contractor has cut services to boost their profits.
"And staff shouldn't be forced onto worse pay and conditions for the sake of an ideologically driven attempt to privatise our vital NHS services.
"This is bad for patients, bad for staff, and bad for our NHS."
Jim McLeish, director of quality improvement, The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAH), said:
“Our domestic and hospitality colleagues are a valued and valuable part of the PAH team. Their roles are an essential part of ensuring our hospital is clean, safe, welcoming and ready for our patients, visitors and staff.
“We have started an exercise to review the range of domestic and hospitality services that we need to ensure that we are meeting the demands of a busy hospital and that our teams have the capacity to meet the workload this involves.
“This exercise is not seeking to reduce the number of people doing these important roles. We are working with our teams to make sure they are aware of the details and will continue to keep them informed.”