Outsourcing staff

Who are NHS staff?

Keep Our NHS Public considers all staff who work in the NHS or for NHS organisations to be part of the NHS family whether they are an NHS employee or not. 

Cleaners have been ‘contracted out’ to private companies for decades, which presents many problems for the staff. It means their pay and conditions change, often unfavourably, and they lose many of the benefits they may have been entitled to as NHS employees. 

There are similar issues for porters, drivers, caterers and security guards. Moving these services to private companies also implies that these services are somehow less important to the NHS, at a time when it is becoming increasingly clear they are essential to the functioning of our health services. 

Agency staff

There are over 100,000 vacancies in the NHS meaning it is frequently forced to use agency staff to fill the gaps. There are around 40,000 nurse vacancies in the NHS, and the cost of using agency nurses costs the NHS billions each year. These agency staff don’t have the same job security and benefits as nurses employed by the NHS, but are held to the same professional standards.  

Next section: Migrant charging


In this section Keep Our NHS Public has created a number of articles to help you explore the different ways the NHS is being privatised.

Read our definition of NHS privatisation.

You can find a summary of these on our page: How is the NHS being privatised?

Read in more detail about the different mechanisms being used to privatise the NHS: