The Trade Union IMPACT is hitting out at the HSE after it emerged the Coffee Dock at Letterkenny General Hospital is to be outsourced to a private company, and staff are to be redeployed to other areas.
The HSE has indicated to Highland Radio News that the outsourcuing of the Coffee Dock was flagged in 2010 when the hospital shop was privatised, a claim the union denies.
The union now claims the hospital is in breach of the Croke Park Agreement, and they fear this could be the thin end of a wedge which may see more comprehensive outsourcing of hospital catering.
In a letter to Letterkenny General Hospital Manager Sean Murphy today, IMPACT's North West Spokesperson Richie Carrothers says the outsourcing of the Coffee Dock would constitute a further transgression by the hospital in not meeting the terms of the Croke Park Agreement.
Mr Carrothers claims a senior manager unilaterally told staff on Thursday last that it was planned to shut the coffee dock as a hospital service, and transfer it to Aramark, the same company which now runs the shop in the the hospital's reception area.
To date, Mr Carrothers says, the union has not heard formally or otherwise from the hospital or the HSE. The letter states that "clearly, IMPACT is not going to permit privatisation by stealth of hospital services,
particularly in light of the fact that the coffee dock is successful in revenue terms".
The letter concludes that IMPACT expects the hospital to return to what Mr Carrothers terms 'Croke Park compliance' immediately, and says he wants an urgent meeting with Mr Murphy to discuss on-going concerns.