HOSPITAL chiefs have welcomed news that trouble-hit Carillion will quit GWH.

The company, which has in the past been accused of failing to meet hygiene standards and bullying staff, managed GWH’s facilities - including cleaning and catering contracts.

Carillion has sold its hospital management business to rival Serco for £47.7m. It comes after the firm has battled rising debt - borrowing almost £700m in the first half of this year.

GWH is one of 15 hospital sites where the facilities contracts will be transferred to Serco.

In a statement issued to the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning Keith Cochrane, Carillion’s interim chief executive, said: “I am pleased we have been able to successfully conclude this transaction, which will contribute to our efforts to reduce net debt.”

In 2014, GWH directors demanded improvements from Carillion following ongoing problems in the firm’s cleaning and catering at the site.

In April that year the Food Standards Agency criticised the firm for keeping out-of-date food and storing uncovered food in freezers.

Rupert Turk, the deputy director of estates and facilities for Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said yesterday: “We have been aware of the financial challenges facing Carillion for some time and are pleased to hear of today’s sale to Serco.

“While there may be some changes behind-the-scenes, services on the ground, such as portering, catering and cleaning, will continue to be carried out as normal and by the same familiar faces.”

Union bosses have welcomed the change.

Andy Newman, Wiltshire and Swindon branch secretary of the GMB union, said: “Carillion has had a very poor record at Great Western Hospital, marked by conflict with trade unions and staff, and underperformance of the services that NHS has been paying them to provide.”

He added said the firm had continually failed to engage with the union. In 2012, GMB union members went on strike for 21 days over accusations of discrimination and bullying at the hospital.

Andy said: “Our preferred solution would have been for the NHS to bring the services back in house, but at least with Carillion leaving the GWH the staff will get a fresh start, and GMB will do everything we can to ensure an improvement in industrial relations.”