SALISBURY hospital has come under fire for "ignoring" recommendations from an NHS regulator regarding its plans to outsource some staff to a private company.

As previously reported by the Journal, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust launched a consultation earlier this month about potentially moving 375 health workers, including porters, switchboard operators and couriers, to a separate company, under the name Salisbury Healthcare Solutions (SHS).

But last week NHS Improvement, the body tasked with regulating NHS Trusts, issued an announcement to all Trusts, advising them to pause any current plans to create new subsidiaries or change existing subsidiaries and wait for new guidance in the coming months.

A spokesman for Salisbury hospital said it would pause its plans on October 2, after its formal consultation process was complete.

And they said the decision was in line with national guidance, adding: "No decision will be taken on implementation until further guidance is issued."

But Mark Wareham, of trade union Unison's Salisbury branch, said it was "of serious concern" and that the consultation should be halted immediately, adding: "For managers of an NHS Trust to act contrary to such guidance is in our opinion completely inappropriate."

Union members took part in a protest outside Salisbury Hospital's AGM on Monday evening, to raise awareness of their opposition to the proposals. 

And Mr Wareham raised concerns about the proposal to outsource staff, which he said the majority of staff have opposed, saying it is "seriously lacking in detail" about expected savings, conditions/pay of transferred staff or how quality would be safeguarded.

"In our opinion this proposal as it stands would never meet the requirements of any new serious regulatory test put in place by NHSI and hence our demand for this current proposal to be withdrawn, at least until such time as the new regulatory framework is in place," he said.