BRADFORD MP Judith Cummins is calling on the government to hold a debate on NHS Trusts creating private subsidiary companies, following proposed plans announced by Bradford hospitals.

The calls in the House of Commons from Ms Cummins, Labour MP for Bradford South, came on the same day union officials met with NHS directors in Bradford to discuss the plans.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is proposing to found a “wholly owned” subsidiary company, separate to the hospital, to provide non-medical services, and Airedale has similar plans.

Ms Cummins said: “Many of the trusts in Yorkshire are currently considering proposals to transfer staff over to wholly owned companies amounting to a race to the bottom in terms of employment practices.”

Bradford’s other MPs including Bradford East MP Imran Hussain and Keighley MP John Grogan have also spoken out against the plans.

More than 80 per cent of Unison and Unite members in Bradford voted in favour of strike action if the plans go ahead, and regional organiser Natalie Ratcliffe met with the Bradford board of directors on Thursday to exchange views on the notion.

She said: “Unison’s position is to oppose the development and transfer of staff into wholly owned subsidiary companies. This is both a local and a national position.

“The staff side unions would like some rationale into the reasons why this course of action is being potentially progressed, what benefits are being claimed will result, and why this is seen as been best for patients and staff.

“It appears that the driver for this project is cost reduction. There have been no claims that services will be improved.

“We have not seen any kind of business model though we have been asking since before Christmas.

“We see the formation of these companies as privatisation through the back door; these companies can tout for business and potentially be sold on.

“The creation of this company would create a two tier workforce, something senior managers in Estates and Facilities seem not to keen on, given their experiences with PFI.

“Staff are angry and are prepared to take some action.

“All West Yorkshire Labour MPs are fully backing our position and see it as privatisation of the NHS and an attack on the lowest paid.”

Savings in Airedale are estimated to be £6 million - £5 million in tax and £1 million on staff terms and conditions - but the Bradford Trust has not released any figures to the public.