28 October 2019

The Health Secretary has been urged to come clean over potential job losses as part of cuts to NHS Scotland’s laundry services.

NHS Scotland currently has eight laundries across the health service, but it has emerged that the number could be halved in a wave of cuts.

Despite the stress this news will cause staff, NHS Scotland has refused to say how many jobs will be lost in the process.

The laundries play a vital role in halting the spread of infections, a problem which has been in the spotlight in recent months – particularly at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Information obtained by Scottish Labour shows that in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde alone 31 reported incidences of linen shortages have taken place in the last three years.

Scottish Labour can also reveal this follows a previous round of SNP cuts to laundry services. Between 2016/17 and 2018/19, staff levels (whole time equivalent) in laundries fell by 4.8 per cent.

Scottish Labour Health Spokesperson Monica Lennon MSP said:

"Further cuts to NHS laundry services will be unacceptable.

"The Health Secretary should come clean over this move and say how many staff are facing redundancies and what she will do to respond to the risk of industrial action.

"Across Scotland we’ve seen hospitals running out of clean bed linen and towels too often, as staffing levels go down and health boards struggle to balance the books.

“After 12 years in charge, the SNP’s mismanagement of the health service is having serious consequences for patients and NHS staff and health boards are warning they’ll struggle to cope this winter with rising demand.

“Scottish Labour will challenge these proposals and seek a commitment that patient safety and NHS jobs are not at risk.”

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