Christina McKelvie MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse has today welcomed news that the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Shona Robinson, has commissioned an independent review into the use of Soft Facilities Management services at Hairmyres and Wishaw Hospitals.

She also welcomed confirmation that the Scottish Government have asked NHS Lanarkshire not to proceed with negotiations on the Soft Facilities Management contracts until the Health Secretary has received the report and considered its’ findings.

This news comes after Christina wrote to the Health Secretary requesting that PFI contracts at both hospitals are brought to an end and staff currently employed by external bodies are taken back in-house.

NHS Lanarkshire currently, as part of the PFI contracts rolled out by the Labour government, employ external organisations to take on duties including cleaning, portering, catering and security.

The letter received by Christina also outlines the Scottish Government’s opposition to NHS staff being employed by private companies and highlights their commitment to ensure all future hospital staff are employed through the public sector.

Commenting on the news, Christina said: “It’s welcome that the Scottish Government has taken decisive action to stop private companies profiteering from the NHS.

“However, it is with regret that, due to a contractual agreement put in place by the Labour Party, the Health Secretary’s ability to bring staff back into NHS employment - without huge cost to the public purse - is made extremely difficult.

“Soft facilities management services, such as cleaning and catering, play a key role in the delivery of clinical services at both Wishaw and Hairmyres Hospitals.

“That is why I take the view that these services should be provided by the NHS and the staff employed to carry out these services should enjoy the same working and pension benefits as those employed through the public sector.

“I look forward to the findings of the review and hope the staff – currently employed by private companies – can finally be brought back in-house.