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Tameside Kidney Unit ‘Up For Auction’ To Private Companies
Friday 26th August 2016 @ 18:37 by Lee Wild
Ashton News

The Kidney Dialysis Unit at Tameside Hospital is set to be privatised in a shock policy review by NHS England, the Tameside Reporter can reveal exclusively.

The 8-year-old unit, which is run in conjunction with Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI), was put out to tender this week.

Draft sustainability and transformational plans that will see changes to services across the country have been leaked to BBC sources.

An insider at Tameside Hospital revealed that staff had been informed of the plans to bring the unit under the control of a private company.

3 Private companies are now being invited to bid on operating the service in place of the NHS. The identity of these preferred bidders is not yet known.

The Dialysis unit at Tameside Hospital was opened to extensive press coverage by Coronation Street legend Bill Tarney, a former Ashton resident, in 2007 and has achieved gold accreditation 4 years running.

It is believed to currently employ around 25 staff and provide care for 72 patients on site.

The dialysis unit is in an unusual situation as despite being on Tameside Hospital grounds, it is operated by Manchester Royal Infirmary who leases the building from Tameside Hospital.

Under the new plans a private company would take over the operation of kidney dialysis in Tameside and it remains to be seen whether they would continue operating out of the current building with the same lease payments, or instead move the service off-site.

Staff at the unit are understandably worried about their jobs under the new proposals. A similar situation has already happened over the border in Stockport where Dialysis services are provided by a private company.

An anonymous source told the Tameside Reporter that staff at the unit are put under time constraints and the source claims the staff cannot give patients the attention they deserve.

The invitation to tender was sent out this week and by the beginning of November, Central Manchester University Hospitals will have chosen a preferred partner to take over the running of the site. Staff are expected to find out their unit’s future in the middle of December.

The unnamed source told the Tameside Reporter: “Staff could stay on the same contracts after privatisation, but after that they would have to renegotiate.”

It is unclear whether that means cuts in pay or job losses.

The government has decided that £22billion needs to be cut from the NHS England budget nationally in what’s being called “efficiency savings” by 2020-21.

Critics of the move are sceptical that private companies will be able to make savings that the NHS cannot.

Our source said: “We provide laundry and bedding for patients whereas maybe a private company might ask them to bring their own. We provide food for patients, private firms do not.”

Tameside’s Renal Unit is only one of several across the county that is set for privatization as NHS England strives to save money.

Central Manchester Hospitals were repeatedly contacted for comment but were unable to be reached on Friday afternoon.