Cornwall

Royal Cornwall hospital Mitie contract 'needs reviewing'

Hands with gloves and cloth
Image caption Mitie's contract is worth £90m over seven years for three hospitals in Truro, Penzance and Hayle

Hospital bosses "need to review" a cleaning and catering contract after a private firm consistently failed to meet standards, a union has claimed.

Mitie took over "hotel services" at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) in 2014 as part of a £90m contract.

The union Unison said the "situation was not being resolved" after months of failures.

RCHT said high standards were required and it was working with the firm. Mitie has refused to comment.

'Bumpy ride'

The latest figures reveal Mitie was fined up to 67% of its monthly profit in the past four months for failures at the trust.

One anonymous employee of the company told BBC News: "We were told the first 18 months might be a bumpy ride, the 18 months are up and it's getting worse. Things are not getting better.

"I think the patients are suffering, they don't get the same care. We're under such pressure now to get everything done the patients and staff are suffering."

Sarah Woodward, from Unison, said: "Continuously things don't seem to be improving. This situation is not being resolved.

"If there are critical service failures, it would suggest patients are at risk, which is a huge worry and something our members would want to avoid at all costs."

Image caption The latest figures reveal Mitie was fined up to 67% of its monthly profit in the past four months for failures at the trust

She said the "situation needs reviewing".

Service failures include emergency bedside calls not being answered within target times and requests for patient meals or drinks not being delivered on time.

Any failures mean Mitie accrues penalty points, which RCHT translates into deductions from the company's profit margin.

In February, 16,006 points were accrued, 18,000 in January, 13,540 in December and more than 38,000 in November, trust figures have revealed, with further failures reported in 2015.

The trust said: "It is a priority for us that the hotel services provided to patients and to support clinical staff are of a high standard.

"We will continue to require these high standards and work with Mitie to ensure their consistent delivery."

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