Serco have launched a hunt to find people to help keep the new £212 million Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary running for the next 25 years, taking on work which has historically been carried out by direct NHS employees.
Contract director Tony McLaughlin said: “We want to hire talented people who live in the local area so we can give the hospital a real community feel.
“Our aim is to build a team of people who are passionate about maintaining this fantastic new facility in the very best condition, supporting the hospital to provide the highest standards of care for the people of Dumfries and Galloway.”
Construction of the new hospital at Garroch Loaning is being financed through a non-profit distribution model under the High Wood Health consortium.
And Serco are taking on a 25-year contract with NHS Dumfries and Galloway to maintain the hospital’s plumbing, heating, lighting, electrics, and fire safety systems.
But the posts of senior technicians and electrical and mechanical technicians, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, painters, decorators, and a service coordinator take on work previously carried out by direct public sector NHS employees.
Explaining the move, Stephen Hare from the union Unison said: “It’s a contractual obligation under the private finance initiative — that the maintenance of the building is carried out by the owners of the building.”
But offering an assurance, he said: “It’s all being looked at in partnership, and nobody’s being forced out.”
Maintenance staff continue to work at the existing DGRI on Bankend Road.
However, Mr Hare said: “You’ve got to remember that the actual estate of Dumfries and Galloway Health Board covers from Stranraer right across to Langholm, so there’s ongoing work required, and although it’s not fully sorted out yet there are parts of the old hospital which may still be in use for some time.”
And he added: “Everything has been looked at in partnership, and the main focus is making sure that any employment that is taken up as far as possible is given to people in Dumfries and Galloway.”