Controversial Leicester NHS contract scrapped four years early

Moves to scrap a controversial £300m contract with NHS trusts in Leicestershire four years early have been welcomed by a trade union.

Interserve Plc, University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and NHS Property Services announced yesterday that they were ending a seven-year contract for Interserve to manage all 550 NHS buildings and deliver catering, maintenance and support services for the trusts after three years.

When the contract was signed in March 2013, it was expected to save £100m. More than 2000 staff transferred from the NHS to Interserve.

GMB regional organiser, Colin Whyatt said: "This contract had been troubled from the start and has ruined people's lives.

“There is still a lot to be sorted out but good news Interserve has lost the contract. I hope the trust has learnt its lesson."

In August 2013 Interserve apologised after patients at Leicester Royal Infirmary were served meals up to three hours late.

The company asked for a top-up to its contract, though to be around £12m, in March 2015.

In June 2015 Interserve merged catering and cleaning services, with cleaners heating up patient’s meals, causing 100 people to lose jobs.

The university trust issued Interserve with a compliance notice, forcing them to reverse the changes, after complains about a decline in services.

In a joint statement, the trusts and Interserve said: “The original contracts were designed over five years ago and though they have delivered the intended savings, it has become apparent that the contracts are no longer appropriate to the needs of the trusts today.”

The contract will end on 30 April, with staff transferring back to the NHS under TUPE regulations.


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