NHS England decided at the end of June to transfer almost a thousand workers involved in the “back office” functions of GP services to private company Capita in September – all that is left of a much larger workforce. Until a year ago nearly 2,000 NHS staff were involved in this work, spread across 43 offices.
Formerly known as Family Health Services, now Primary Care Support Services, have already been subject to savage cuts. Faced with the prospect of working for Capita several hundred staff have already fled, taking voluntary redundancy. Others have been forced out.
With no sign of a fight on the horizon, their union, Unison, now has an uphill battle to retain NHS Terms and Conditions – which will mean establishing solid trade union organisation within Capita. It appears from the Unison’s first meeting with the company that Capita intends providing the service with only 500 workers in no more than 5 locations (one of which may even be Krakow, in Poland).
The GPs’ union, the British Medical Association, has so far ignored this threat to doctors’ ability to provide health services. Unison is already taking steps to enlist its support It believes it is time for GPs to speak up – if it’s not already too late!