CAMPAIGNING hospital workers in north Essex have launched a petition in a bid to convince trust bosses to reverse their decision to privatise certain jobs. 

The East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) has announced plans to no longer directly employ cleaners, porters, caterers security and other support staff. 

It comes ahead of the 2025 end date of the trust's contract with the private company OCS, which employs staff who work at Ipswich Hospital. 

UNISON has now voiced concerns regarding the proposals, suggesting the services offered to patients at the likes of Colchester Hospital will fall below par if outsourced to private companies. 

A petition has also been launched with UNISON bosses encouraging the people of north Essex to get behind their campaign. 


Sam Older, UNISON Eastern regional organiser, said: “Staff in Colchester were absolutely gobsmacked when the chief executive told them they were being sold out of the NHS.  

“Whatever guff trust bosses have come up with about being a valued part of the team and their conditions being protected, they only need to look at their colleagues in Ipswich to see what outsourcing means: lower pay, worse conditions and second-class services. 

“But it’s heartening to see how many people do value their hospital cleaners, porters, caterers and other support staff

“ESNEFT is a major employer in Colchester and helps set the standard in many local businesses. This sell-off could easily set off a race to the bottom in north Essex. 

“We urge Gazette readers to sign the petition and send a clear message to ESNEFT that NHS services should be run for patients, not for some private company’s profits.” 

Nick Hulme, chief executive of ESNEFT, has now said staff employed at Colchester will be protected despite the changes. 


He said: “We are aware of a petition launched by UNISON.

"This follows the trust board's carefully considered decision to put a single approach in place for some facilities services at ESNEFT.  

“We recognise this may be a worrying time and staff will want to find out more about how this decision impacts them. 

“All our facilities colleagues make a massive difference to the experience of patients and staff. Their employment, and terms and conditions, will be protected. 

“We are holding a series of briefings to talk about the decision-making process and answer questions. We will also offer meetings with affected colleagues in the coming months to offer individual support.” 

To sign the petition visit: