Union calls for ballot in Tower Hamlets over fears of NHS privatisation

UNION members were calling for a ballot in the East End today over fears that some of the borough s health services could be parcelled off to private providers. Unite announced it wants to hold a ballot for staff at NHS Tower Hamlets over proposals to

UNION members were calling for a ballot in the East End today over fears that some of the borough's health services could be parcelled off to private providers.

Unite announced it wants to hold a ballot for staff at NHS Tower Hamlets over "proposals to hive off" services to a social enterprise.

Members say the move would "semi-privatise the most deprived" and could lead to jobs being lost, services becoming fragmented and a "unified" NHS being scrapped.

But NHS Tower Hamlets' Deputy Chief Executive, Andrew Ridley, hit back, accusing Unite of acting "irresponsible" by upsetting staff and concerning the borough's community with "false information".

He did say the trust was in talks with staff and the union about future options for its community health services including physiotherapists, occupational health therapists and district nurses following orders from the Government to all London boroughs.

Mr Ridley added: "We are not 'hiving off' services and it is wrong to suggest otherwise.