UNISON welcomes government’s U-turn on selling off NHS Professionals

Campaign success for UNISON over the summer

The government has announced a U-turn on plans to sell off the publicly owned NHS staffing agency in England, NHS Professionals (NHSP).

Over the summer UNISON combined with the We Own It campaign group to petition and lobby MPs, civil servants and the National Audit Office. We undertook this campaign because we believe that NHS Professionals is a public sector success story which acts to down wider agency costs and employs staff on NHS pay and conditions.

Thanks to all members who signed the petition calling for the service to remain in public hands. The campaign was supported by newly elected MP Eleanor Smith, a former UNISON president and nurse, who tabled an early day motion to garner support in Parliament.

Commenting on the news, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:

“The government has at last seen sense. NHS Professionals is an organisation that saves the health service money and ensures there are enough staff on wards.

“But despite many warnings, ministers have once again gone through a pointless exercise, wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers cash. Instead of filling the pockets of management consultants, this money could have been better spent improving services for patients.

“Selling off NHS Professionals would have been completely counterproductive and bad for patients and staff.”

Read the text of the announcement in Parliament.