Health Minister Matt Hancock will examine accusations that a private contractor at Kingston Hospital is not providing adequate sick pay.

Mr Hancock met with campaigners from GMB trade union and Croydon North MP Steve Reed (Lab) yesterday (March 5) after Mr Reed raised the issue at Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) in Parliament last month.

Mr Hancock stated that he was unaware that practices raised by the campaigners — such as using sick pay 'credit' schemes — go on in the health service but added that he was interested in looking into the matter further.

Cleaners, caterers and porters employed by the Danish multinational ISS at Kingston hospital are campaigning for an improved sick pay scheme with support from the GMB trade union.

Campaigners say that the private contractors do not provide an adequate sick pay scheme, forcing them to accrue sick pay 'credits' while working before receiving sick pay.

They are also lobbying ISS to pay all it's staff at Kingston Hospital the London Living Wage, which is currently set at £10.55 per hour.

GMB Regional Organiser Helen O’Connor, attended the meeting and said that the campaign welcomed Mr Hancock's intervention in the matter:

Ms O'Connor said: "We welcome the fact that the Minister for Health is taking this issue seriously and we look forward to his intervention to deal with what amounts to a serious public health hazard in Kingston Hospital.

"ISS are trying to discredit the legitimate concerns of GMB Union members by writing letters to various MPs accusing the union of ‘communicating inaccurate information’. The fact remains that ISS do not pay sick pay from day one and our members are on poverty level wages which means that they are forced to come into a hospital environment when they are sick."

On raising the subject at PMQs in February, Mr Reed said that one of his constituents who is employed by ISS at Kingston Hospital was obliged to work without sick pay despite suffering a stroke.

Mr Reed also alleged that ISS had attempted to stifle any political campaigning, including contacting MPs, by threatening to break off negotiations with GMB.

In response David Lidington, the Conservative MP and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said that the company might be considered in contempt of Parliament if this were the case.

In a statement published by the Surrey Comet earlier this year, ISS defended its sick pay scheme and said it did not recognize GMB as the legitimate trade union representing its employees at Kingston Hospital.

The campaigners who met with Mr Hancock last night also urged him to consider the public health risks they say can result in the sick pay credit scheme.

GMB argue that the current sick pay scheme encourages employees to come into work while sick due to inadequate wages and no immediate sick pay, leading to a risk of cross infection at the hospital.