Cleaners and porters denied shoe donations at Northwick Park Hospital is a ‘slap in the face’

Northwick Park Hospital. Picture: PA/Anthony Devlin

Northwick Park Hospital. Picture: PA/Anthony Devlin - Credit: PA

Cleaners and porters say they were left “embarrassed” and “sad” after they were turned away from a donation of shoes for staff at Northwick Park Hospital.

A gift of 700 pairs of Clarks work shoes was donated to the hospital notices up around the Watford Road site and an email sent encouraging staff to collect a pair, a cleaner told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

But after queuing for half an hour with nine colleagues, they were told the donation was not extended to them.

“It needs to be equal treatment for everybody,” the cleaner who wishes to remain anonymous explained, “We are also frontline staff, we are putting ourselves at risk.

“I feel really, really sad and embarrassed.”

London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWU), which manages the hospital, said the “vast majority” of donations are available to all staff and that the shoes were allocated to Allied Health Professionals (AHP) .

AHPs are degree-level medical professionals who assess, treat, diagnose and discharge patients across social care, housing, education, and independent and voluntary sectors.

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GMB Union, which represents members working at the hospital, said 10 cleaners who attended the collection were turned away.

Lola McEvoy, GMB’s NHS organiser, said: “It’s really upsetting that our cleaners and porters at Northwick Park have been treated like this. They face the maximum danger on the front line every day for really low wages and minimal sick pay.

“They are key workers protecting the public from the virus and so it’s a slap in the face for them, to be offered a treat from Clarks Shoes and then humiliated, when they turn up to collect it.

“They are the backbone of our NHS and without their commitment and personal risk the hospital couldn’t operate. They face the same risk, working in the same place and it’s simply wrong to not allow them to share in a small reward.”

A LNWU trust spokesperson said: “Donations by local businesses and the public have been extraordinarily generous and these have been distributed to clinical and non-clinical staff. This includes cleaners and porters who continue to work tirelessly during pandemic and whose effort we greatly appreciate.

“It was agreed that the shoe donation would be allocated solely to Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) working in Northwick Park. This is one of hundreds of donations that have come into our hospitals and the vast majority have been available to all our staff.”