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Cleaning staff join NHS as service brought in-house

More than 300 domestic staff at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary are now part of the organisation.

NHS: New green uniforms issued to staff.
NHS: New green uniforms issued to staff.

More than 300 domestic cleaning staff at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary have become NHS employees.

The staff were previously employed by private contractors but domestic services have now been brought in-house by NHS Lothian.

The health board says the change will enable them to develop the team ahead of the new children's hospital opening at the site next year.

Staff began wearing their new green NHS uniforms on Wednesday.

Private firms, including Consort and ENGIE, have been responsible for domestic services since the hospital opened in 2002.

Union leaders have welcomed the moved, which gives all employees the option of using the NHS pension scheme.

Tim Davison, chief executive of NHS Lothian, said: "Our domestic services staff play such a crucial role in helping us to care for patients.

"We have worked closely with Consort, ENGIE, Scottish Government and our trades union colleagues on this and we are delighted we have been able to come to this agreement.

"While the previous contract delivered high standards of service, this move gives us the opportunity to develop our staff and expand the team."

Health secretary Shona Robison said: "I'm delighted that we're transferring over 300 domestic service staff to become NHS employees and giving those who are not already on NHS terms and conditions or pension scheme the option to do so.

"Given the role that cleanliness has to play in the overall delivery of patient safety, having them as NHS Lothian employees will mean improved control over the patient environment, greater flexibility over staffing arrangements and substantial cost efficiencies."

Mick McGahey, of Unison, said: "I am pleased on behalf of Unison to welcome staff to the NHS.

"Unison has worked consistently in NHS Lothian and with the Scottish Government to pursue the case for services which are integral to the running of patient care to be fully part of the NHS again, and are pleased that this is the case in one of Scotland's largest acute hospitals."

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