Unite slammed the ‘murky’ procurement process for a £2.25bn South East London pathology contract today (Monday 27 January), after Synlab was named as the preferred bidder over incumbent firm Viapath.
The union said the process to select a bidder for the 15 year contract to provide pathology services to five NHS trusts and GP services in South East London lacked transparency and had not properly engaged with stakeholders, including pathologists and doctors.
Unite, which has 192 members at Viapath, is demanding South East London Clinical Commissioning Group (SEL CCG) make public the case for choosing Synlab as the preferred bidder and release any impact assessments its taking over the contract will have on the workforce and services.
Warning that the decision in April to assign the contract must not be based on ‘which bidder can cut the most’, Unite called for SEL CCG to urgently meet with the union and provide guarantees that members’ jobs, terms and conditions will be protected.
Unite regional officer George Dodo-Williams said, “The procurement process for this contract has been murky from the outset and Unite is particularly concerned about the lack of engagement with stakeholders, including pathologists and GPs.
“This is obviously a time of great concern for our members and SEL CCG needs to stop keeping them in the dark. The case for choosing Synlab as the preferred bidder and the potential impact this could have on staff and services must be released,” he added.
“SEL CCG must not award the contract on the basis of which bidder can cut the most and we call on the group to provide guarantees that staff will not be targeted. Unite is demanding a meeting with the SEL CCG to update us on the process, criterion for selection and workforce plans as soon as possible.”