Staff at Hinchingbrooke Hospital braved the rain to mount a protest over plans to outsource their jobs.

Catering staff at Hinchingbrooke Hospital protesting over their jobs being outsourced in January 
PICTURE: ArchantCatering staff at Hinchingbrooke Hospital protesting over their jobs being outsourced in January PICTURE: Archant

NHS catering staff protested outside Hinchingbrooke Hospital yesterday (October 22) to stop their jobs being outsourced to a private provider in January.

Staff braved the rain and stood outside the entrance to the Huntingdon hospital to make their views clear.

Around 30 staff signed an open letter to the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust (NWAFT) on August 27 urging bosses to keep their roles as part of the NHS.

Organiser of the protest, Unison’s branch secretary Samantha Jane Hemraj said: “We are protesting because of the potential outsourcing of NHS catering staff services to an outside contract. We are campaigning to stop this from happening and keep the services in house. I just can’t see a reason to outsource when these people are doing a really good job.”

Catering staff at Hinchingbrooke Hospital protesting over their jobs being outsourced in January 
PICTURE: ArchantCatering staff at Hinchingbrooke Hospital protesting over their jobs being outsourced in January PICTURE: Archant

Angie Vose, an NHS catering staff member at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, who was also campaigning at the protest yesterday, said: “We feel hurt, because all the years that we have put into it, everyone has done more than their job’s worth for the patients.

“It just feels like it’s a waste of time because all they care about is the money and not the actual patient’s welfare.

“Patients are not going to want to have microwave meals everyday, food is part of the recovery.”

Ed Murphy, Labour and Cooperative Party Councillor at Peterbrough City Council was also at the protest to support staff and he said: “I’m here today to join the catering staff and other people whose jobs are threatened, by some weird attempt by the Trust to privatise some in-house services.

Catering staff at Hinchingbrooke Hospital protesting over their jobs being outsourced in January 
PICTURE: ArchantCatering staff at Hinchingbrooke Hospital protesting over their jobs being outsourced in January PICTURE: Archant

“Even the secretary of state is saying this is a service that we need to be protecting it, it’s secure, it’s safe and people work with good terms and conditions. It’s also part of the Heritage.”

Graham Wilde, Chief Operating Officer for North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are aware that UNITE and UNISON members held a peaceful protest outside Hinchingbrooke Hospital. This is in response to the Trust’s current tender exercise for facilities management services provided to patients and staff at Hinchingbrooke, and Stamford and Rutland Hospitals.

“The Trust has attracted bids and this process has now closed.

“We are currently reviewing the details of these bids which is expected to take some time.

“Throughout this process, our aim is to ensure that we are providing the best value for money for taxpayers while maintaining the high quality services that we and our patients

expect.

“We are working with approximately 70 Trust staff affected by this process and our current providers and have been holding regular staff briefing sessions to keep them

updated.

“We are also meeting regularly with representatives from UNITE and UNISON to discuss any concerns they may have and to ensure that they are aware of the timetable and approach being taken.”