According to Unison, operations are being cancelled at sites which have already signed up to these schemes because packs of surgical instruments are incomplete or dirty.
Mike Jackson, Unison’s senior national officer, said: ‘Unison has warned time and time again that taking sterilisation services out of hospitals and replacing them with supercentres - which are often miles away - is a recipe for disaster.
'No one should have to go through the pain and distress of having their operation cancelled at the last minute because the right equipment is not in place. And lives should not be put at risk unnecessarily because surgical instruments have not been properly decontaminated and sterilised.
'Patient safety should come before private profit – clearly that is not happening here. The Government must call a halt to this dangerous drive to close down in-house sterilisation services before more patients are made to suffer.”