Publish date: 23 September 2022

Following a series of questions being asked at the breakfast club on Maplewood 2 and the responses shared by Julia Musker I wanted to write to all colleagues across the site with an update in respect of the Whalley site and what we know at this time.

I have attached the email circulated to Maplewood 2 colleagues and feel it is important to offer some further clarity as I am aware this has posed some further questions.

What we know so far is that Lancashire and South Cumbria have submitted a business case to take ownership of the Whalley site. The initial intention was that they would take the site from October 2022 and we would lease the buildings we used from them until we moved off the site. Woodview was initially proposed to open as a Lancashire and South Cumbria service with 2 mental health wards and a PICU ward in January 2023. It was thought Aspen Wood LSU would open and we would move our low secure services off the Whalley site at the end of 2023 (Nov/Dec). It has been proposed and widely communicated that the 4 IPCs would transfer to Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS as part of our retraction planning.  These messages have been shared with colleagues many times through various channels.

The business case for Lancashire and South Cumbria has been delayed. We have been informed that it is anticipated their business case will be approved late September and if approved the intention is now that they will open Woodview in around May or June 2023. The site transfer will now not happen until after Mersey Care vacate the site. This is the latest information that has been shared with the Trust and current position.

In terms of the IPC houses it is the intention that these will TUPE transfer in line with Employment Legislation as a change of service provision. Essentially this means that the service provided will transfer and the contract will be transferred and taken over by Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust. For colleagues this will not impact upon and terms and conditions of service. Colleagues would transfer on the same terms and conditions as they are currently employed on (NHS Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions). Many of our colleagues will have been involved in a TUPE transfer when Calderstones was acquired by Mersey Care and you will be aware that there was no change to terms and conditions of employment as part of this.

The process or timescales for the transfer are yet to be agreed and will be very much dependent upon the outcome of the business case application of Lancashire and South Cumbria. This mean that at this time we are unable to provide exact timescales in this regard. What I can assure colleagues of at this time is that TUPE is an organisational change process and therefore once we are in a position to consider the process and planning for this our staff side representatives will be fully engaged and colleagues will be consulted with as part of this. Again I would like to reassure those affected colleagues that under TUPE provisions terms and conditions of employment are retained.

As I have said many times we really hope that our colleagues will transfer with us to Aspen Wood and remain with Mersey Care. We are currently looking at incentives and other ways to support you to do so. I do fully appreciate that some colleagues have concerns in respect of the distance and travel alongside personal commitments for some. Therefore discussions have commenced with other local NHS Trusts in respect of “clearing house” principles to secure employment with other NHS Trusts for those colleagues who may not want to transfer with us to Aspen Wood. The key principle behind this is to retain knowledge, skills and experience within the NHS, avoiding a redundancy situation.

As you will be aware the NHS has a significant number of vacancies across the country at present so whilst I hope to retain all our colleagues from the Whalley site within Mersey Care I am also optimistic that we will be able to secure NHS employment elsewhere for anyone on the Whalley site who cannot continue their journey with us to Maghull Health Park or other Trust sites.

I would like to remind all colleagues that the organisational change process has not yet commenced and is still in the very early planning stages. No decisions have been made around any process, individual or their future. These will not be made until 2023 following a series of formal consultation sessions and individual one to one meetings. In the meantime it is “business as usual” and we will continue to keep you updated on our plans.

We will continue to share with colleagues information as soon as it is available to us and our work around engagement will remain ongoing. I would like to thank those of you who attended the three focus groups held during August and those who completed the recent survey monkey questionnaire around the Whalley Retraction and Aspen Wood. Your contributions have helped to inform some of the initial discussions around incentives and ways that we can support you over the coming 12 months and beyond.

I would also like to remind you about the internal webpage set up to support colleagues and provide information around the Whalley site as well as the Aspen Wood page on the public website. We will also endeavour to share regular communications going forward in respect of the workforce implications and the work with Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust and development of our new low secure service at Aspen Wood.

We will also be offering colleagues the opportunity to participate in informal discussions about their own future and a template has been created and approved for these conversations, in partnership with staff side colleagues. These discussions are entirely optional but aimed to give all colleagues the opportunity to talk to us should you wish to do so at this stage. Arrangements are being made to now start to meet with colleagues as another way of sharing information and engaging and it is expected these conversations will commence later this month.

Finally, I want to thank you all for your contributions and support at this time. The skills, experience and dedication of our Whalley workforce are recognised, appreciated and commended both internally and externally. I am very proud of the achievements of our colleagues here and the positive impact you have all had on the lives of our service users.

I would like to express that our service users are at the heart of everything we do and that our decisions will always be made with the needs of the service and the individuals we support considered and prioritised. This will of course form part of our current and future workforce planning. I would ask that you continue to fulfil your roles to the best of your ability and support our service users who are on this journey with us in the way that you have so successfully done for many years.

Should you have any individual concerns, questions or wish to discuss any aspect of the organisational change process please direct these to the Whalley Retraction email address in the first instance to ensure a timely response. The address is . I would also encourage you to speak with your line manager should you have any general queries or concerns.

Kind Regards,

Steve Newton

Divisional Director of Secure Care