Expensive private sector should be last resort for COVID vaccination programme

thumbnail of Cabinet Secretary Correspondence 17 February 2021f (002)UNISON has written to Jeane Freeman Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health today to request that she instruct health boards only to use independent contractors as a last resort rather than offering them work ahead of their own NHS and bank staff – for the COVD vaccination programme.

The trade union say there is a significant inequality of payments by NHS boards using these contractors instead of directly employed or bank staff. Private contractors get £231.00 for 3.5 hours work and NHS staff band 5, at the top of pay scale, get £56.63 for 3.5 hours work.

Willie Duffy, UNISON Scotland head of health, said: “Using private contractors like this is a huge cost to health boards. They should only use these contractors as a last resort rather than offering them work ahead of their own and bank staff.

Although many professionals are qualified to give a vaccinations NHS staff are not only the cheapest they are also experts, doing them regularly every day. And NHS staff know how important this is and want to do everything they can to contribute to the COVID vaccination programme.

Initially staff were getting shifts, however, in some health boards they introduced private contractors at highly inflated costs and directly employed NHS and bank staff stopped getting shifts. This is not sustainable. It is a huge cost to the NHS and not the best use of their considerable skills. The Scottish government must look at this urgently”

UNISON Scotland contacts
Willie Duffy, head of health: 07904 342129
Danny Phillips, communication officer: 07944 664110