The SNP Government’s Health Secretary Jeanne Freeman should come clean over possible job losses as part of cuts to NHS laundry services.

At present NHS Scotland currently has eight laundries, including at Borders General Hospital in Melrose. However, it has emerged that the number could be halved in a wave of cuts including axing the borders service. It is understood that another option being considered is to keep four laundries plus the Borders Laundry because it generates commercial income. So far SNP Health Secretary Jeanne Freeman has refused to say how many jobs will be lost in the cuts process.

The laundries play a vital role in halting the spread of infections, a problem which has been in the spotlight in recent months.

These aren’t the first cuts to laundry services by the SNP. Between 2016/17 and 2018/19 overall staff levels (whole time equivalent) in NHS laundries fell by 4.8 per cent.

South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth said:

“The SNP Health Secretary should come clean over any plans to cut laundry services and say how many staff are facing the axe and where. It is no surprise to hear that staff may take industrial action if these cuts go ahead and we need to do how the NHS will manage any strike action. Closing the borders laundry would not only reduce services and lead to job losses but it makes no economic sense given that it generates commercial income for the NHS to keep costs down.

“After more than a decade in charge it just seems the SNP’s mismanagement of the health service is getting worse, impacting on more and more patients and NHS staff and health boards.

“I intend to fight any proposals to cut services, as putting patient safety and NHS jobs at risk is just not acceptable.”

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