York Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust is considering setting up a limited liability company to manage its estate and facilities services to help save money.

The new company could be used to provide services to other public sector organisations in the region including local authorities and trusts such as Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole FT.

An announcement to staff, seen by HSJ, said a decision to set up the company had already been taken at director level and the trust’s head of estates and facilities Paul Bishop was released from his role to focus on this work at the start of the month.

However, the trust has since told HSJ the announcement was a mistake and misleading, and it had since sent a message to staff to make clear no decisions have been made.

News of the development has prompted concern among union members at the trust who were not consulted before news of the plans emerged. They fear it could put jobs or terms and conditions at risk.

York MP Rachael Maskell, a former national health officer for Unite, has also raised concerns over the way the changes have been handled.

The initial announcement said the motivation for setting up the company would be to help the trust meet its savings targets.

The note, headed “Estates and Facilities Announcement” said: “Whilst we achieved our cost improvement programme target last year, we still have a significant carry forward from previous years where we underachieved.

“This year we are short of our target by around £1m, and the gap persists in future years’ plans.

“Across the country there is a move to create limited liability companies, wholly owned by the trusts, and to deliver services from that company where it is beneficial to do so.

“It has been agreed at director level that a limited liability company will be created and this could provide services to all the public sector organisations [such as] Hull and East Yorkshire Trust and North Lincoln and Goole Trust, within our sustainable transformation plan footprint.”

Brian Golding, director of estates and facilities, said the trust was only exploring ideas at this stage.

He said: “At a time when the NHS continues to be under financial pressure, we are exploring ideas to ensure that all of our services are as efficient as they can be.

“One of the ideas we are considering, for instance, in partnership with neighbouring public sector organisations, is the combined purchasing of services that we all buy in using a new company that could collectively buy those services at a better price – and therefore offering savings for each trust. The avenues that are being explored are in procurement, primarily in estates contracts, which are currently outsourced to third parties (for example lifts maintenance), where the buying power of multiple trusts could be beneficial in terms of savings for each trust, protecting frontline services.”

He added that the company would “only procure and administer those contracts on behalf of the trusts involved. The transfer of in-house functions is not at this stage under consideration, but if it did appear favourable in the future then detailed consultations with those staff likely to be affected would be carried out.

“This is simply exploratory and absolutely no decisions have been made.”