Domestic services staff at Royal Infirmary Edinburgh join NHS Lothian

Around 300 staff who work at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh become NHS employees from today (12 April 2017).

Domestic services at the Royal Infirmary have been managed by private sector partner Consort since the hospital opened in 2002 – changes to Scottish Government policy mean staff will now be directly employed by NHS Lothian, instead of service partner ENGIE.

Tim Davison, Chief Executive of NHS Lothian, said: “Our domestic services staff play such a crucial role in helping us to care for patients. We have worked closely with Consort, ENGIE, Scottish Government and our Trades Union colleagues on this and we are delighted we have been able to come to this agreement.

“While the previous contract delivered high standards of service, this move gives us the opportunity to develop our staff and expand the team. This enables us to respond to the needs of our changing healthcare environment and prepare for the opening of the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and the Department of Clinical Neurosciences next year.”

Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, said: “I’m delighted that we’re transferring over 300 domestic service staff to become NHS employees and giving those who are not already on NHS terms and conditions or pension scheme, the option to do so. Given the role that cleanliness has to play in the overall delivery of patient safety, having them as NHS Lothian employees will mean improved control over the patient environment, greater flexibility over staffing arrangements and substantial cost efficiencies."

Mick McGahey, Partnership Lead, from Unison, said: “I am pleased on behalf of Unison to welcome staff to the NHS. Unison has worked consistently in NHS Lothian and with the Scottish Government to pursue the case for services which are integral to the running of patient care to be fully part of the NHS again, and are pleased that this is the case in one of Scotland’s largest acute hospitals.”

Domestic service staff are responsible for the cleaning and presentation of the hospital environment and are a fundamental part of the hospital team. They play a key role in supporting clinicians to ensure patients experience a high level of care and remain safe during their stay.

Having an in-house team will allow NHS Lothian to manage domestic services across the whole site once the new hospital sites open. Following contractual negotiations, the operational and TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations 2006) transfer of the service has taken around four months to complete.